Very often, women are forced to take a break at their careers as they step into motherhood or marriage. However, re-joining the workforce after a gap is always a challenge, as their skills tend to be woefully inadequate, and they are left with little leverage in terms of salary negotiations.
Also, the existing gender disparity heavily weighs down on the motivation of women wanting to restart their careers. (According to the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report 2020, India ranks 112 out of 153 countries in terms of gender parity in economic participation and opportunity, educational attainment, health and survival, and political empowerment.)
However, an increasing number of corporate entities are launching career return programmes for women, aiming to make workplaces more inclusive by enhancing female participation. The following are a few which can help you get back on track in your career:
SAP – Stay in Touch
This SAP initiative eases the process for women employees to return to work following a sabbatical or maternity leave. The program offers project-based assignments that are aligned with the candidates’ skills and experience. Applicants receive practical assistance and can choose between full-time assignments, projects or part time work. Its training programs includes a mentor’s guidance through the process as well. Women who have not been working for at least two years and have work experience of at least three years before the career break are eligible to apply.
Amazon launched Rekindle in 2017 to encourage more women to return to work after a career break by providing a conducive environment to address their skill gaps. The platform provides mentoring facilities, flexible work options, and on-the-job learning. Women who have been on a career break for at least 12 months can apply to the programme. Applicants will also be provided with the information they need for preparing for the initial interview, following which they will go through the standard Amazon interview process.
Genpact Career 2.0
In a bid to enhance diversity, Genpact rolled out its ambitious Career 2.0, a return-to-work programme for women, in 2015. The program is targeted at recruiting mid-to-senior-level women employees, who have been on a career break, for leadership roles in the company. The program offers flexible work environments and women can choose their shift timings and customise their workdays. The company runs the programme exclusively on social media and also aims to equip the women hired with relevant skills as they restart their careers. Genpact also has a sperate programme called ‘Returning Moms’ programme to assist women employees to return to work after maternity leave.
The Springboard program offered by Microsoft is a four-month-long, paid internship programme during which candidates can enhance their technical skills, work on live business projects under the guidance of mentors, and explore new career opportunities. They may also get a chance to be inducted into full-time roles at Microsoft at the end of the program depending on their performance during the internship. Women who have at least four years of industry experience and who have been on a career break for at least six months are eligible to apply.
PayPal ‘s Recharge India is a six-week program designed to maintain a culture of diversity and inclusion by enabling women technologists to kickstart their careers after a break. The programme starts with a day-long event launch, and selected candidates will participate in a Bootcamp where they undergo mentoring sessions, following which they are interviewed for full time roles at PayPal. The company claims that the programme has received more than 1500 applications in its three editions.
CAPtivate is Capgemini’s initiative to provide a platform for skilled women professionals to foray back into the workforce after sabbaticals. The program provides exclusive training sessions, imparts behavioral skills and values, mentorship, and access to platforms where they can interact with leaders and other participants. Women who are currently unemployed and have a minimum of three years of work experience are eligible to apply. They will have to go through multiple rounds of technical and managerial interviews and those selected will be offered full-time roles at Capgemini.
(Edited by Athira Nair)