Tuesday, June 15

Women can benefit from return to work programs


(CNN Business) — Since the beginning of the pandemic, Millions of women in the United States have stopped working. And many of them have done so because of the care responsibilities that traditionally have fallen on women.

Returning to work after a prolonged absence is often a difficult road, and the longer you are away, the more difficult it can be to get back in.

«One of the aspects in which [el mercado laboral estadounidense] is not as flexible is to allow people to take time off and rejoin without there being some kind of label “D” for “dropout” on their sweater indicating to the labor market that, in some way, they are damaged merchandise, ”said Betsey Stevenson, professor of public policy and economics at the University of Michigan.

For years, companies like Goldman Sachs, Cloudflare, and IBM have offered return-to-work programs as a way to help professionals return to work after a long hiatus.

Reinstatement programs, as they are often called, typically last a few months and offer training, experience and networking opportunities to workers, usually mothers, who have been out of the workforce for a long time.

“There are many exits on the road from our lifelong work, but very few entrance ramps. And reinstatement programs are one of those entry ramps, ”Stevenson said.

And more recently, corporate interest in launching these types of programs has grown, said Tami Forman, CEO of Path Forward, an organization that works with businesses to create reinstatement scholarship programs.

“More programs were launched this spring,” he said. “We are registering more companies starting and launching new programs.”

See beyond the loopholes in the resume

Career gaps in a resume can be viewed as a negative, but when all reinstatement scholarship applicants have a career gap in their work history, it forces hiring managers to look further. “The goal of these programs is to provide companies with a way to incentivize managers to hire people who would otherwise be overlooked and who are perfectly qualified for the job,” Forman explains.

Eligibility varies by company, but typically requires at least two years out of the workforce and a minimum of five years of prior professional experience, according to Forman.

“There is certainly a drop in callback rates for anyone who has a gap on their resume, but at the two-year mark, it really falls off a cliff,” said Forman, adding that being identified as a caregiver also decreases call back rates.

Grubhub, which is in the middle of its first scholarship program, organized training for its managers so they would know what to look for when choosing applicants for the program.

“We knew the interview process would have to be different to… assess the skills they would have had by the time they left the workforce,” said Kelley Berlin, Grubhub’s director of human resources. “We couldn’t evaluate them for their current technological abilities. We had to look at their level of performance and their potential relative to when they came out. ‘

However, as we enter the second year of a global pandemic, companies may begin to view protracted employment gaps differently, especially in light of school and daycare closures.

“Everyone has become aware that care is a conflict,” he said. “The recognition that it is often not a choice or a choice that is so limited by external factors that individual families cannot control.”

The role of reinstatement scholarships

Goldman Sachs launched a reinstatement scholarship program in 2008, which requires applicants to have been out of the workforce for two years or more. But the company is studying the possibility of lowering that minimum, which would expand the pool of applicants to workers who left during the pandemic.

“We are very focused on how to change those requirements, because there are women who took a year off at the peak of COVID-19 and these are women who should have the opportunity to join,” said Megan Hogan, Goldman’s director of diversity.

He added that taking advantage of the talent that was withdrawn from the workforce during the pandemic will help the bank remain competitive.

The first week of Goldman Sachs’ 12-week program focuses on training, followed by a training period in one of the bank’s divisions. Participants are paired with a manager, a coach, and people who have already returned.

The company receives an average of 1,000 applications annually for its program in the United States and accepts between 25 and 30. Approximately 75% of those who go through the program receive offers to become full-time employees.

Wells Fargo launched its Glide Relaunch program in the US when the pandemic raged last fall. It received more than 800 applications, which resulted in a class of 34 people. This year’s program was entirely remote, requiring at least two years of career break and seven years of prior experience.

Although the foundations of the program began before the pandemic, the timing of the launch generated great interest.

“As the program launched in November 2020, the talent pool was incredible in terms of what we received,” said Sandra Fernandes, who runs the Wells Fargo scholarship program. “With our inaugural post attracting about 836 applicants, I think that was just because of the job market that existed that matched what Wells Fargo had to offer.”

Participants were paid $ 40 an hour during the reinstatement program, and wages for full-time positions offered after the eight-week program were $ 100,000 or more, according to Fernandes.

“We were so impressed with what our inaugural program brought to the table… that by the second year we will triple the class, with the goal of bringing 100 interns to the company,” said Fernandes.

The impact of the pandemic on the advancement of women in the job market played a role in audio storytelling company Audible’s decision to launch its scholarship program, Next Chapter, earlier this year. Their first generation finishes the program this month.

“We thought launching it during the pandemic would be the best because we could support the largest number of caregivers and their families due to the lack of employment caused by the pandemic,” said Anne Erni, Audible’s chief of staff. “We knew that it was very difficult to re-enter the job market for professionals who interrupted their careers to be caregivers and we knew it would be exponentially more difficult during the pandemic.”

He added that the program, which lasts 16 weeks, will help to establish a level playing field.

“As much as we have made progress in sharing household responsibilities with our partners… the burden of care often remains on women. So women have had to make that difficult decision to partially or fully shed, ”said Erni. “We have to resume progress.”


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