Katherine Forster hit the headlines recently when she became an intern. But she is no ordinary intern – she is a 48 year old mother of three who had taken a 15 year career break and bagged her new role by responding to a tweet from The Spectator magazine.
While this story may astound you, Forster is not alone in trying to re-enter the workplace. According to research by PwC there are nearly 500,000 female professionals currently on a career break who want to return to the workforce in the future. Three in five of these will face the frightening prospect of moving into a lower-skilled or lower-paid roles, with an earnings reduction of up to a 33%.
If you’ve taken a break from your career for a number of years and focused your life on your family, yourself, a parent or any other reason – don’t let these statistics put you off. While you may want to return to your career and continue from where you left it in a similar role, or discover another role or industry, it’s important to take stock and understand the new landscape.
When you re-engage with your network, former colleagues and people in the industry it’s highly likely you will notice that in the time that you’ve been away, things have significantly moved on. It’s not only regulation which has impacted how things are done, technological advancements have really changed your whole industry. Your core skills are definitely still of value, but on the other hand you need to get on top of the new skills which are now a prerequisite in the industry.
It’s not all bad news though. The industry would have been looking previously for the specialists whereas now a more diverse set of skills is highly rated. Diversity in the workplace might often be described around gender, age, education, sexuality, etc. What they combine in the end is the diversity of thought. Companies are no longer looking for who fits in, but are much more interested in a group of people that bring different ideas, methodologies, creativity and views to the table.
How to bring your career back to life
The first question is where exactly to start your journey back to work. Keeping up with trade news and your industry colleagues on LinkedIn is essential. The changes afoot in the professional world can equally help you here as well. There are now multiple organisations that aim to bring back people who have taken a break. For example, the Diversity Project is running various events around individuals who have taken an extended career break and are now looking to return to the workforce in financial or professional services. There are also returnships which focus on higher level internships which act as a bridge back to senior roles for experienced professionals who have taken an extended career break. They are professionally-paid short-term employment contracts, typically of 3-6 months, with a strong possibility of an ongoing role at the end of the programme. Participants take on commercially significant work based on their skills, interests and prior experience, obtaining a supported route back to a professional role. It is a great way to update skills, knowledge and experience in your previous sector/role or possibly to transition into a new sector.
In all of this mentoring or coaching can greatly help you to get up to date on what is and has been happening in your industry and what is expected from candidates in the market place. Equally with getting in touch with the people in the industry that have a high proficiency in the skills you have to upgrade could greatly help you in finding that position in which you can continue you your career again.
AlgoMe is a career management platform that empowers you to take control and gives you direct access to that mentor; through a simple three step process of creating your account, adding your skillsets, aspirations and mentoring needs, and AlgoMe proposes you matches. AlgoMe will validate suitability before sharing the options with you. If you like one of the options proposed, you can send an introductory message directly to your match. You will have taken the first step in your path to your renewed career success.