Guest AuthorNeha Bagaria

Companies bet high on women returnees

By | Sandhya |

Women returnees are actively hired by nearly half of the Indian companies.“After the Great Resignation, companies have realised that hiring women returnees can be their best bet as they are raring to return to work after a break and prove themselves and are available to join them immediately with no notice period,” says Neha Bagaria, CEO of JobsForHer.

Although women have always been at the forefront of driving businesses, they have rarely been acknowledged for their contribution. The dawn of the new millennium saw a paradigm shift in women’s involvement in the workforce. 

According to a report, women make up nearly half (46.9%) of the total workforce, of which, just 19% of the tech workforce are women.

Despite all the progress that has been made by women, the tech industry is still miles away from employing women in full force. The gender gap was a reality up until a few years ago when careers for women in the tech industry and other STEM sectors were not so welcoming and especially true of women on a career break.

But the last decade has seen a major shift in companies not only hiring and retaining female employees but also bringing back women on career breaks. Women returning to work often face a barrage of challenges – related to their age, the amount of time they took a break, and their capabilities and skill sets.  

Even as women who took sabbaticals owing to marriage, illness, childbirth or change in profession, are willing to reboot their career, their re-entry comes with a host of obstacles. 

  • They are required to establish their commitment to work 
  • Demonstrate that their skills and capabilities have not slackened over a period of time. 
  • Women’s gross earnings have been shown to drop by 20% to 30% after their maternity break.

These are also some of the main reasons why female leadership development programs have failed. Many research studies indicate that having a higher percentage of women in executive positions has enabled organizations to attract suitable female talent.

Understanding this scenario, organisations are trying to iron out the differences and pave the way for women to return to work. Now, onboarding women returnees is the new motto for companies as they increasingly look at gender diversity and inclusivity. The reason is not far to seek as gender diversity brings many advantages to the company.

 A Gallup report analyses the benefits as:

  • Women returnees form a large motivated talent pool and it is in the interest of the company to tap this potential. 
  • It helps drive business and financial performance and innovation.
  • As they are already experienced, employers can bring them up to speed with training and support.
  • A gender-diverse workforce allows the company to cater to a diverse customer base.
  • Better problem solving ability

A McKinsey report says that the most gender-diverse companies are 21% more likely to experience above-average profitability and another report by MSCI shows that having women on the board of a company boosts productivity. 

According to a JobsForHer DivHERSity Benchmarking report for India,  87% of large enterprises and 49% of SMEs and startups stated that gender diversity is a top hiring priority for their company and that they are trying their best to achieve that goal.

Keeping these in mind, many companies across the globe have started women-centric initiatives to attract and retain female employees and exclusive programs for women returnees.

Here is a list of few companies which have women-centric programs to encourage and retain talented workforce.

Airbnb: The company offers a career reboot program for women returnees.This program is crafted to help those on career breaks receive the necessary upskilling, continued flexibility in working hours, a 6-month training program along with a buddy system to reintegrate.

Collins Aerospace: They offer programs like Re-Empower to support flexible employee schedules, leadership development, and individuals looking to return to work after a break.

Dunnhumby: Their Backtoherfutureis a Returners Programme designed to support talented professionals who have taken an extended career break to get back into the workplace.

Johnson & Johnson: Their Re-Ignite program is a paid returnship for experienced professionals ready to return to work after a career break of two years or longer.

OracleCareer Relaunch program helps women to re-enter the working world and hit the ground running in a full-time position by offering 12-week onboarding and strong mentorship programs. 

Intuit: The Intuit Again returnship program is designed to be a pathway into a full-time career allowing you to work on a team to refresh your skills and apply your newly learned skills in a supportive, structured 16-week program. The program is supported by a dedicated program team comprising leaders, program managers and fellow returnees.

The list is not exhaustive but these are companies that have focussed programs for women as part of their gender diversity and inclusivity strategies.

Infact the benchmarking report by JobsForHer has studied that the impact of women returnee programs has been manifold with far-reaching effects. The survey has revealed that 52% of companies have said that their leadership team was satisfied with the returnee program, are now accommodating of women returnees and 56% said there was an increase in the number of applications from women returnees.

These initiatives are expected to boost women’s participation in large droves and fully utilize their talent and skills.

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Republished with permission and originally published at

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