What exactly are returns and why are they trending right now?

You may not have been active in the workplace (or had an account on a social media platform) in recent years and not have come across the term “Great Resignation,” otherwise known as the Big Quit or the Great Reshuffle. It started as a US-based economic trend

in which workers voluntarily quit their jobs en masse and then spread to Europe.

However it happened, the net result was the same: many people left their jobs, took time off, moved abroad to explore life as a digital nomad, or switched industries. Others retrained during the pandemic and used furlough or other support to fund learning and development.

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And now that we are used to a new way of working, a new trend is emerging.

Returnships are emerging as a viable way to get back to the 9-5, without having to start from the bottom up. Companies like Amazon, Accenture, and Goldman Sachs all offer return-to-work programs as a way to retain talent and pave a path for professionals to return to work after a career break.

While the concept of returning to work after a long break isn’t new – just ask any parent who’s taken a few years off to care for kids – the fact is that so many companies are recognizing this talent pool and developing programs to capitalize on it, is a new approach.

What’s the benefit?

As anyone who has been out of work for a while knows, imposter syndrome and trust gaps can be huge. This is where returns can provide real value. Goldman Sachs, a pioneer of the trend, has been running a return program since 2008, offering paid, structured support to those who return.

Amazon’s 16-week return program is virtual, offering an easier dive into the waters of the world of work. Returns are paid for and eligible for benefits, providing a structured environment. Returners are given work assignments to help them reintegrate into the workforce and get used to Amazon’s way of working.

Professional services Accenture offers a number of return programs, including a Technology Returnship Program, a Women Return to Work program and a ReSUME component for those who have taken a career break of more than two years.

At Oracle, a cohort community is one of the selling points of the Career Relaunch program. You have the advantage of joining at the same time as other relaunchers and receiving – and giving – camaraderie and support.

There are also other benefits. A restart program can offer returnees the opportunity to accelerate their careers by developing new skills or specializations. Some people returning from a career break may even choose to embark on a return as a way to check their gut to see if they would like a new industry.

The length of the program is also a factor. Typically, people are not expected to participate in a re-entry program for the same amount of time it takes to complete a traditional internship. These are experienced professionals after all, they just need some reintroduction into the workforce.

Any drawbacks?

While return opportunities are generally paid, you may not get a guaranteed job at the end of a program. Oracle’s Career Relaunch program allows you to join the company full-time, where your first 12 weeks will consist of specialized onboarding, complemented by structured job training and mentorship.

At Amazon, however, the program is more like how a regular internship works. The company says, “Subject to performance and feedback during the return program, qualified candidates may be offered full-time employment.”

Regardless of the outcome, it’s hard to view a return ship as anything other than a generally positive one. At the very least, participants gained valuable new work experience, honed existing skills and learned new ones, while filling a gap in their CV. They should also have taken advantage of networking and mentoring opportunities to increase their employability in the wider labor market.

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Shreya has been with australiabusinessblog.com for 3 years, writing copy for client websites, blog posts, EDMs and other mediums to engage readers and encourage action. By collaborating with clients, our SEO manager and the wider australiabusinessblog.com, Shreya seeks to understand an audience before creating memorable, persuasive copy.