What is a Returnship? What You Need to Know
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What is a Returnship? What You Need to Know

Maybe you spent the last five years taking your little ones to and from school, play dates, and extracurriculars. Maybe, after years hustling in the working world, you just needed a little R&R. Or perhaps you took a career break to care for a sick or aging loved one. And now you’re thinking about returning to work and wonder if a returnship is for you.

First off, if you took a career break, you’re not alone. In fact, about 40% of women (a Pew Research Center study) and 26% of men (AIG Life Study) have taken a step back from their career, most often to care for their children or an ailing family member. Whatever your reason or circumstance, there’s a strong chance that you’re one of 3 million women in the U.S. hoping to return to work after taking a break. And sure, knowing what you want — respect in the boardroom, a corner office, great salary to name a few — is great, but half the battle is getting your foot in the door, especially when there are younger candidates who are just as qualified. That’s where returnships come into play.

What is a Returnship

Think of a returnship as an internship for experienced adults looking to refresh skills and get experience while ramping up to return to a full-time career. A returnship has two purposes: returners receive the support, confidence, and skills they need to help them achieve success in their careers, and employers get to evaluate the candidate’s fit for a role in the organization. This career trend comes at a time when the career landscape itself is ever-changing. Returnship programs serve as a training ground to learn about the new trends and technologies while refreshing previously earned skills. 

There’s also a benefit for companies wishing to diversify their talent pipelines. Since many, but not all Returners are women, returnships are an attractive route to bring more women into organizations and into leadership roles. So, especially for tech and science-based companies, returnship programs are a way to encourage women to lean back into their industries, especially when their skillset — and gender — is a rarity. 

How exactly do returnships help you return to work? 

The timelines for returnships can vary, but most reacHIRE programs are 26 weeks, ample time to help you get acclimated to the 9-5 schedule while networking and sharpening your skills. Similar to internships, these programs are typically structured to ensure that everyone gets the most out of their experience. Prior to the start of the official work responsibilities, reacHIRE offers customized onboarding and training to be sure you are ready to shine. 

Another important note: returnships are usually — and always should be — paid because no amount of time away from a job takes away your worth. reacHIRE only provides paid returnships.

reachHire aims to empower people to restart their careers after time off. We connect people of all backgrounds with top companies to craft a training and returnship program that provides professional opportunities. To do so, we carefully match companies with potential employees and guide both parties throughout the length of the returnship program. We have worked with many Fortune 500 companies to create return to work programs, including Fidelity, Wayfair, and T-Mobile

So is a Returnship a permanent job?

Let’s be clear: participating in a returnship does not guarantee you’ll be offered a full-time job. According to reports, employers that offer returnship programs hire anywhere from 50% to 100% of women participating in these programs — and, we’re proud our reacHIRE programs boast about an 80% hire rate. Statistics aside, returnships remain a great way for people to return to the workforce with confidence and that’s something that even numbers can’t disprove. 

Returnships are game-changers

Many of our returners claim returnships are career game-changers. Many returners say, ‘I can’t believe this exists’ or ‘I dreamed of this’ when they are placed with a returnship program (hear testimonials in their own words). For some people, a returnship can help them navigate the workforce post-children, post-divorce, post-any-big-life-change and truly make a difference in careers and futures.

That confidence, which for many women diminishes after a career break, can be regained through experience, guidance and dedicated work). When you’re selected to be a part of a reacHIRE returnship program, it’s crucial to have the support of a cohort and Program Manager to maximize your experience. You’ll return to the working world with confidence and swagger, all while juggling family, relationships, and, well, everything else, of course.

Ready to chat about returnships? Contact us today. We’ve got you.

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