Tips for women returning to the workforce

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Going back to work after several years out to raise a family can seem like a daunting prospect. In these circumstances, many women are concerned that their time away will negatively impact the how they are perceived by potential employers.

But with demand for highly skilled workers increasing, employers are actively courting women who left work to have children. Hiring working mothers is no longer a token gesture but a business imperative.

Attracting and retaining highly skilled female professionals who have left the workforce has become a priority for businesses to combat skills shortages.

Extended paid maternity leave, on-site or subsidised childcare and flexible working arrangements are all becoming more widely adopted as employers seek to attract the best and brightest female talent back into the workforce.

“While changes in policy make a significant difference, proper preparation on the part of professionals can also ensure that they can transition smoothly back into working life,” says Sally Martin, Associate Director at Robert Walters.

Here are some tips on how to prepare yourself for returning to the workforce:

  • Complete refresher courses. A chance to revise your existing skills and stand out from other candidates, refresher courses can offer an excellent way to prepare to employment. Taking part in one demonstrates your commitment to your career to potential employers and can help improve any confidence you may have lost while away from work.

Maintaining relationships with employers and colleagues during a break from your career is an excellent way to make your eventual return to the workforce. 

  • Seek out a specialist recruiter for advice. Find a good quality professional recruiter for advice on how to explain career breaks on your CV to employers. They can also help guide you on finding roles, companies and industries that embrace flexible working arrangements have other policies to support working parents.
  • Keep in touch. Maintaining relationships with employers and colleagues during a break from your career is an excellent way to make your eventual return to the workforce simpler. Taking the time to keep in touch with your co-workers shows potential employers that you are serious about returning to your career and gives you the professional network that could lead to your next role.
  • Be aware of new legislation and developments in your industry. Trade press publications and websites help you to stay on top of any developments in your field during your absence from the workplace. Ensuring that you maintain an up-to-date knowledge of your industry will allow you to target your job search more effectively and provide valuable insights to employers at interview.
  • Make your return to work gradual. Returning to work doesn’t have to mean going straight back to full time employment. Job sharing, part time and flexible hours can all help give you time to readjust and strengthen your skills, particularly if you have been absent from the workforce for some time.

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