A great initiative for women who have been out of work for 5-10 years and are struggling to re-enter the workforce at the same level. Original article in www.womensagenda.com.au by Georgina Dent @georgiedent
“SAP’s Back to Work program, an initiative supporting professional women looking to re-enter the workforce after a career break by offering project-based assignments has been successfully rolled out in Japan and Korea, it is now on offer in Australia.
“Both Japan and Korea have an ageing population and there is an ongoing challenge around talent, and almost half the talent of the country is on the bench,” Fox-Martin tells Women’s Agenda. “We launched Back to Work because it’s an opportunity to bring talented women back to work, but also to balance our workforce and introduce a new calibre of talent back into SAP.”
The program is open to applicants from a variety of fields, who have spent a minimum of two years out of the workforce but of the 12 women brought on board, the average break from the workforce is around five to six years.
The company identifies projects and considers what the project would require in house to complete. An hourly rate that is commensurate with the job grade and experience required is then agreed on and the project is open to applicants.
“Typically for a contract role we’d use an agency to manage the application process but that isn’t going to work here. This is a high-touch, humanistic recruitment process,” Fox Martin explains. “As our back to work talent comes back, we want them to have confidence and feel that they’re being nurtured.”
To this end successful candidates are provided with a mentor, the option to work in the office or from home, with complete flexibility. Any equipment required for the role is provided, along with training to ensure the technology and equipment can be used. Meeting the deliverables set at the outset in consultation with a manager, is the only requirement.
“The minimum duration for a project is 3 months and at the end of 3 months, if we like what we see and they like what they see, we will offer a permanent position in the company,” Fox-Martin says.
Aside from the potential benefit to applicants, it is providing SAP with exposure to talent it was previously missing out on.
Tapping into the latent talent of women currently out of the workforce is part of the reason
Deloitte consulting is launching a pilot program called Return to Work next year.
“We are looking for talented individuals who have had time away from work – for parenthood, family care or other reasons – with the aim of helping them transition back into the working world,” Deloitte Consulting Partner Kaylene O’Brien says. “It not only benefits us by opening up the talent base to highly-qualified, experienced, motivated employees who offer maturity and stability, but also gives these individuals the confidence to continue their career progression despite the fear of being behind or lacking appropriate skills.”
What a fantastic initiative. Have you experienced challenges returning to work after taking time to be a Mum or any other break for that matter? Has it been harder for women to return to the workforce? I’d love to hear your comments below.