Bridge CV Gaps With Returnships And Flexible Work

30th Mar 2023

Forward-thinking, flexible companies understand part-time or hybrid working is necessary for almost 50% of professional women when they become mothers or carers. Gone are the days when a talented woman’s career had to end if she took extended time away to care for her family. The best flexible companies are now showcasing a culture of diversity and inclusion - they want more mothers in managerial roles and offer flexible working Returnships to tap into the new talent pool of high-calibre mothers returning to work. As a result, women are now empowered to return to work with temporary support to update their skills and resume the mid to senior-level roles they deserve. Flexible working Returnships are fast becoming an important part of employer brand as organisations compete for female talent.

What is a Returnship?

A Returnship is a well-paid internship for professional women returning to work who want to resume their careers at mid to senior level. It’s a structured, supported pathway where women returning to work are given mentoring and training to rebuild their professional confidence, upskill, re-establish networks and get up to date with changes. A typical Returnship comprises:

  • Open to women returning to work at mid to senior level 
  • The minimum career break for applicants is usually 2 years+ 
  • 3-6 month short-term, fixed contract (most flexible companies offer 6 months)
  • Small cohorts of 5-15 high-calibre women returning to work
  • Working at mid to senior level, in line with qualifications and previous experience
  • Allocated time for networking, upskilling, mentoring and training
  • Competitive pay, which incorporates the cost of support 
  • Strong likelihood of an ongoing, permanent role 
  • Flexible companies often include part-time hours or hybrid working
  • Test out if the company is a good fit, or springboard to other organisations

Flexible companies showcasing Returnships

Flexible companies across various sectors are showcasing Returnships in their employer brand for 2023. 

Here are a few:

FINANCE: Deloitte Ireland – 6-month Returnship aimed at women returning to work after a career break of 18 months to 10 years+. Recruiting a cohort of talented individuals with a technology, accountancy, tax, consulting or risk management background. Deloitte is a flexible company offering part-time and hybrid work to support mothers and women with home commitments. Strong possibility of a permanent contract after completing this Returnship. Based in Ireland, various locations.

COMMERCIAL LAW: DAC Beachcroft – 6-month Returnship for qualified legal professionals resuming private practice after a career break of 18 months+. This Returnship was awarded the ‘Most Innovative HR Initiative Award 2021’ at the People in Law Awards. DACB is a flexible company with a “Flex Forward” initiative of part-time and hybrid working with flexible hours, so women returning to work can shape “a life that works for them”. Strong possibility of a permanent contract with this law firm after completing the Returnship. UK-based, various locations.

RISK ASSESSMENT: Moody’s REIGNITE – 16-week Returnship for women returning to work after a career break of 2 years+. Happy to consider recruiting individuals with minimum 5 years of experience in any professional capacity. Moody’s REIGNITE is recognised as a strongly inclusive, flexible company for mothers and fathers, offering part-time, remote and hybrid working opportunities to men and women returning to work. Strong likelihood of a permanent contract after completing a Returnship with this globally integrated risk assessment firm. Global - UK, USA, Canada, India.

STEM: Skanska Costain STRABAG joint venture (SCS JV) – 6-month Returnship for women returning to work after a career break of 2 years+ with previous experience in construction, engineering, infrastructure and major projects – though they are open to applicants from other backgrounds. This Returnship offers the opportunity to work on the UK’s revolutionary high-speed rail network, High Speed 2 (HS2). As a flexible company, SCS JV celebrates diversity and inclusion, promoting flexible working for women returning to work. Strong possibility of a permanent role following the Returnship. London-based with part-time and remote working available.