The Impact of Returnships

In most employment situations, an individual applies for a job and if their resume shows they might be a good fit for the role, the applicant gets a call from the company for an interview. Unfortunately, that’s not usually the case for a candidate that has a gap in their work history. These individuals are known as “Returners” and standard recruiting processes typically overlook these candidates even though they may be more than qualified for the role.  

The seriousness of the problem that Returners face was recently uncovered in a study conducted by Bullhorn, a maker of recruiting software. Their study showed that recruiters and hiring managers viewed an applicant with a gap of more than two years as more difficult to place than an applicant with a non-felony criminal record. 

Yes, you read that correctly. 

It’s easier for someone who is working but has committed a crime to land a new job than it is for someone who has not committed a crime but has taken a two-year career break to raise their kids or care for an ailing parent.  

(Read: A Comprehensive Guide to Implementing a Successful Returnship, or Return-to-Work, Program)

The impact of this fact on society has been significant. Returners are typically women, which means this problem disproportionately affects females. And we can see this in the workforce, especially in leadership roles.  

Approximately 40% of women leave the workforce for a period of time. When trying to return to work, many of them get overlooked due to the gap in their resume or they accept roles that are well below the level of the position they had when they left. This is usually caused by an unconscious bias in the recruiting process. In addition, women returning to work also often undervalue their capabilities. This combination of factors leads to serious employment issues for many women. 

Returnships fix this problem and have a genuine impact on the lives of Returners and their families. 

Returnships are basically internships for professionals looking to return to the workforce after a career break. The Returnship itself is typically 12-16 weeks in duration, offers a role and pay that is commensurate with an individual’s experience, and provides additional training and mentorship to get the Returner up-to-speed. At the end of a Returnship, employers have the option to hire Returners as full-time employees.  

The result of a properly executed Returnship program is Returners, who are mostly women, entering back into the workforce at the same level where they left. This means more women managers, more women in leadership roles, and more women executives. 

The impact of Returnships on the lives of these women and their families is significant.