Gender Pay Gap, Returners and PR Recruitment

By Amanda Fone CEO & Founder f1 Recruitment, 

More and more corporates are thinking about how to use a returners programme to help with their gender pay gap.

For example, a company in the Fin/Tech sector or Tech sector could be finding in the current talent poor market that their Marketing team is struggling to find talent at the mid to senior level.

They can easily tap into our  back2businessship programme and network of returners to source really excellent marketers and comms experts. Many of our returners have clocked up 10 to 15 years experience before they took their career break and although they may have been out for a few years have the appetite to and can easily cross sector from say retail, FMCG (where some of the very best marketers start out on their careers – think Unilever/P&G), banking into the Fin/Tech and Tech sector.

These ‘returner’ women will come back in at a mid to senior level.

They may need encouragement to consider using their marketing and Comms skills in a different sector i.e. Tech/ Healthcare Fin/Tech / Energy/ Infrastructure; sectors that can often be seen as male dominated. Some of the most exciting and high growth businesses are in these sectors.

Interestingly in Technology, Microsoft lead the way with only a nine per cent gender pay gap because they have been one foot ahead of the competition on developing sustainable career paths for women which flex with their personal lives.

Bearing in mind most tech sector companies are progressive on remote and agile working for all their staff, i.e. men and women and at all stages of their careers, more Fin/Tech and Tech companies could really steal a march on other sectors that are lagging behind on the output v input working revolution by hiring returners.

More marketing and PR agencies would like to take on returners who have been out of the work place but on a practical level they are working very hard to retain the talent they already have that is on, about to go on, or about to return from maternity leave.

We recently met one HR director that told me they had over seven of their Associate Directors out of 14 on maternity leave in the next eight months. Just managing that situation is a challenge.

Returners are an obviously good choice for talent, but many agencies are finding it really hard to integrate them or work out at what level they should return on – job title and salary wise.

The will is there but the way seems to be very very challenging.

Top Tips for Integrating Returners:

  1. Make sure the company understands the business reasons for bringing in Returners – make talent attraction your key message – this gives Returners the credibility they need to integrate into roles at a suitable level, without any suggestion of being patronised or undervalued.
  1. Get top down buy in as well as support from front line managers. Identify positive internal role models.
  1. Think about putting a Returnship programme in place – many returners would rather have a trial 3 month trial period than dive straight back into a permanent role – this can work well for a company and the returner.
  1. Set clear objectives -make sure that the returner understands their targets, time frames, how success will be measured and the process for ongoing recruitment (if a returnship).
  1. Train line managers in how to support returners to provide regular interaction and feedback.  Ask line managers to schedule regular meetings with the returner to discuss what they are doing well and how they could improve. This will help them be clear about what is expected of them, as well as providing an opportunity for them to ask any questions. Appoint an internal BUDDY or MENTOR that may not be the direct line manager.
  1. More than 70% of women surveyed wanted a flexible job (timewise.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/ so try not to shoehorn flexibility into an existing 5 day role.
  1. Think carefully about which roles can be fulfilled on a flexible or partly remote working basis.
  1. There are three core elements to consider when thinking about flexible job design: · WHERE people need to work · WHEN people need to work · HOW MUCH people need to work.
  1. Make sure you read the Women Returners Unit Best Practice Guidelines for Returners: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/685064/Returner_Programmes_-_Best_Practice_Guidance_for_Employers.pdf.
  1. Whatever you are planning – Get on with it – Returners are an invaluable source of readily available skills and experience  – we have been very slow in the UK to engage with this pipeline of talent but more and more employers are realising that Returners can provide solutions to many of their talent challenges.

Photo by Brooke Lark on Unsplash

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