Career Comeback: Why hiring someone returning to the workforce may be a win for your business

By Ron Maxwell - CEO

With many industries facing talent shortages, savvy businesses are looking to increase their reach when hiring new employees. This means extending the search in various ways, such as out of the industry or geographic area, but one group that can get overlooked is people returning to the workforce after a career break.

There are many reasons why a person would take a career break, from lifestyle factors such as parenting or caring for a loved one, to entirely involuntary ones, such as unexpected redundancy. While for some, redundancy can be company-specific, and there are other opportunities out there, for others it’s their industry that has changed due to automation, and transitioning careers can take time.

With such a diverse pool of talent out there waiting for the right opportunity, I want to share some insights into why savvy employers should look to those making a career comeback.

Increasing reach in a challenging market

In our industry, we often hear employers saying that recruitment challenges are increasing, and data from the Government’s Labour Market Information Portal supports this anecdotal evidence. In fact, employers reporting recruitment difficulties rose from 57% in December 2021 to 68% in January 2022. In this climate, widening your search is a must, and those returning from a career break may be the perfect solution.

Finding motivated, committed employees

Too often, employers assume that candidates who have had a career break won’t have the currency of skills, and in some cases, that can be true. But what many do have is decades of work and life experience and a motivation to succeed that will see them go that extra mile.

You can train for skill gaps, but finding an employee who is keen to get a start and ready to prove themselves in your role is invaluable for any business.

Leveraging a wealth of transferable and soft skills

Employers often tell us that soft and interpersonal skills are critical for their business, and people who have taken a career break have often built a raft of these. The life experience someone builds as a parent or carer for a loved one, for example, can lead to excellent interpersonal and communication skills, time management, and a more mature perspective.

It does take a mindset shift when thinking about skill-building – it doesn’t only happen in the workplace. Sometimes, the best learning comes from life. So when exploring the potential value a candidate could bring to your organisation, think about positioning interview or application questions to be broader than focusing only on workplace experience.

Benefitting from keen learners

Many people on a career break have invested time in learning new skills to prepare for their return, which indicates a commitment to ongoing development – something all workplaces need in today’s fast-paced world.

We see it first-hand with the people who come through our programs that support a return to work, such as Skills Checkpoint and ParentsNext. The vast majority of these participants are keen to get back into the workforce and make their mark.

Our programs support them to increase the currency of their skills such as digital literacy and most importantly, build the confidence to make their return a success. Our team takes the time to understand each individual and build a career plan that leverages their existing skills, helps them to build new capabilities and identifies the right career moves.

If you want to widen your reach and find motivated employees ready to start, get in touch with VERTO. Our team can match you with job seekers with the transferable skills and motivation that will see them thrive in your organisation.