25 Return to Work Program For Women In India
Returnee internships are emerging as a special category of progressive step for employers and a powerful restart strategy for women. A returnee program is a formal pathway to employment for professionals returning to the workforce after a period of unemployment.
These programs are being executed across all metros in the country as they have proven to be an effective way to help women return to the workforce after a hiatus. Returnee programs have been an enabler to make the work environments more conducive and increase female participation in the workforce.
Organizations in every sector have launched, or are launching, their Career Comeback programs. We have put together a comprehensive list of Returnee Programs India.
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Returnee Programs in IT & ITES:
#1. SAP - Stay in Touch
SAP ensures that women employees return to work after a sabbatical or maternity leave. Employees who go on long leave, mainly to start a family, usually quit when the leave period ends. The company tries to stay engaged with the employee through a single point of contact called ‘Amico’ (which means ‘buddy’ in Italian).
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Women who have themselves experienced career breaks for personal reasons are chosen to play the role of a buddy, who stay in touch with the absent employees, update them on new developments at the workplace and addresses their concerns. And that way, they try to ensure that a higher number of their alumni return to work.
#2. Rekindle Amazon
Amazon India launched rekindle - an initiative to encourage women on a professional break to resume their corporate career. As part of this initiative, the company will provide structured onboarding, focused mentoring, flexible work options and on the job learning to the candidates.
Amazon will provide an environment to address their concerns and close specific skills gaps. According to the company release, the rekindle program will offer flexible work options including work from home and flexible shift options depending on the role.
“With rekindle, we aim to provide a launch pad to women who have had an extended absence from work in their career due to any circumstances and encourage them to come to Amazon and pursue their career goals,” said Raj Raghavan, Director Human Resources APAC, Amazon
#3. INTUIT - #IntuitAgain
#IntuitAgain is an initiative to inspire and provide an opportunity to women technologists on break. This platform not only gives the candidates a chance to work at Economic Times ‘India's best company to work for’, but also provides technical and other training to sharpen their professional skills. See the details here
#4. Genpact Career 2.0
Female employees returning to work at Genpact post a maternity break can choose shift timings that are comfortable for them, an initiative made by the company to bring women back to the workplace.
Genpact is consolidating most of its maternity benefits, which already existed in one form or the other, under what it termed the 'Returning Moms Programme'.
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#5. Intel - Home to Office
Intel India also has launched a one-of-its-kind Home to Office or H2O initiative that will help bring women back to work from their career breaks due to family or personal needs.
#6. Target - 'Back on Target'
Back on Target is aimed at women who had taken a sabbatical and now want to re-enter the workforce. The company is initially looking at women in technology, analytics, and marketing roles, and this will be extended to roles in human resources and operations within 3-4 months.
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#7. PayPal - Recharge
In a big step to bridge the gender divide in the workplace, PayPal in India launched its Recharge Programme in 2015, to help women technologists get back to work after a career break. The 6-week programme aims to increase diversity, while also giving returnees the opportunity to expand their experience and network.
The Recharge Programme was started to ignite a culture change, both at PayPal and in the tech industry in India, by erasing the stigma that comes from a career break, and by inspiring a thoughtful consideration of a healthy work/life balance. The company recognises and appreciates the inherent value that women bring to the table, and also that increasing the diversity ratio contributes to vital insights and perspectives that better serve the needs of its global customer base.
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#8. Google gCareer Program
The gCareer is a program for qualified women professionals who have taken a break from active working life for a year or longer to work with the internet giant. gCareer India was launched to attract women professionals with diverse backgrounds and experiences, who have been out of the workforce, and are interested in the digital advertising space and willing to step into the dynamic environment of Google's advertising teams.
“With gCareer, we want to encourage and enable women to get back to work as a break in a career should definitely not mean the end of it,” says - Sharad Goyal, Head of People Operations, Google India.
#9. GE India - RESTART
GE India started a pilot initiative for returning women called restart and have plans to expand it. The RESTART program at GE’s John F Welch Technology Centre, Bangalore is a program that focuses exclusively on hiring women scientists and engineers who have taken a career break and wish to get back to work.
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#10. Sapient - SPRING
SPRING is Sapient India’s flagship Women Employee Returnee Programme, enabling women professionals who have taken a hiatus to return to the workforce, giving them flexibility and opportunity to recreate their niche in the professional world.
Sapient India launched its SPRING programme on International Women’s Day 2017, in an effort to create a diversity balance within the company. The company will create an enabling environment through this robust integration programme, assigning each woman returnee a ‘workplace sponsor’ for a period of six months.
#11. Microsoft - Springboard
This is a unique program designed to help women on a sabbatical make an easy transition back into the corporate world. With the flexibility to choose the types of project, the duration and even the work hours, the first two intakes of the Springboard program have given several women the right impetus to get their careers back on track.
Capgemini India actively supports skilled female professionals who want to make a transition back into the workforce. As part of their exclusive, women-only campaign, Career Comeback, they invite enthusiastic and talented women—currently on a career break—who are looking to get back to their careers.
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The eligibility and the selection process need you to have a minimum experience of 3 years prior to your career break. You will be evaluated against parameters such as technical skills and roles and responsibilities handled in your previous organization
After multiple rounds of technical and managerial interviews, selected candidates are offered full-time, regular employment at Capgemini.
(Vapasi in Hindi means to return or comeback) – Aimed at women technologists (primarily developers) who are on a career break and keen to resume active work, this program spread over four weeks will help women sharpen their programming skills.
Vapasi is a ThoughtWorks initiative to enable experienced women developers who are currently on a career break and looking to re-enter the world of programming. The boot camp, spread over four weeks will help you sharpen your programming skills through hands-on sessions on object-oriented programming practices.
Once the women complete the program, they are free to apply to any company they choose.
Accenture strives to make it easier for their women to combine work and family. By providing women returning to work the support they need to find ideal re-entry roles, they smoothen the transition back into the workforce. It is a one of its kind opportunity for you to interact with the industry experts and its leadership team; a program that is designed to help women jumpstart their career after a break.
There are innumerable benefits of returnee opportunities for women who have taken a career break as well as the companies who are stepping up to hire them.
Returnee Programs In BFSI:
#15. Goldman Sachs - Returnship
A term trademarked in 2008 by Goldman Sachs, a ‘returnship’ is a paid, 10-week program in a variety of divisions with the objective of providing those with the necessary skills a chance to re-enter the workforce. While the program is highly competitive (only 19 out of 1,000 applicants were chosen in 2013), over 50% of the 150 total participants were hired at the end of the scheme. Mridula Sankhyayan, Head of Talent Development at Goldman Sachs, says, “The returnship is a longer warm-up period and helps create a pipeline of mid to senior women”.
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#16. CITI - Second Careers
CITI piloted its Second Careers Options in Bangalore, Mumbai, Pune, Chennai, and Gurgaon with positions for women restarters. CITI’s Second Careers Programme exemplifies its commitment to increasing its pipeline of female talent.
To CITI, it’s very simple – their client base is from every walk of life, every background and every origin. So, their workforce should reflect the same diversity – at all levels.
The management is held accountable for putting diversity plans in place in their respective departments and businesses, and for measuring the progress of these plans. They develop and mentor their workforce at the group and individual level, enabling them to grow and excel. And, they foster an inclusive work environment where all employees are treated with respect.
Credit Suisse’s Real Returns programme offers paid employment with support, training and networking opportunities for professionals who have been out of the workforce for an extended period of time. The programme is particularly beneficial for female professionals, due to the high percentage of women who take mid-career breaks.
The programme’s success is evident from the numbers of the 23 applicants selected for Real Returns, 70% accepted full-time employment offers from Credit Suisse at their offices in Mumbai and Pune.
#18. Axis Bank - Re-Connect
Axis Bank has launched a program called Re-Connect, offering jobs to former women employees who have left the system in the past 10 years. While this is so far offered only in a few select states, they plan to make it national soon.
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Returnee Programs in Retail & Manufacturing:
#19. Aditya Birla Fashion & Retail Ltd. & Aditya Birla Retail Ltd. - ENCORE
ENCORE is an initiative by Aditya Birla Fashion & Retail Ltd. and Aditya Birla Retail Ltd. to provide mutually rewarding work opportunities to women professionals who have taken a career break.
The intent of the program is to provide opportunities to qualified Indian women who are out of the workforce due to various reasons and simultaneously being benefited from the immense potential of this talent pool.
ENCORE offers live projects with flexible workplace arrangements, wherever possible, where the participants use their expertise to solve real business problems. They will work closely with the project sponsors of the identified projects who will also be their mentors during the course of the project.
#20. Godrej - Careers 2.0
Godrej’s Careers 2.0 is open to women with at least two years of prior work experience, who have taken a break of 6 months or more. Live business projects across sectors in various divisions of Godrej and its associated companies are offered, varying from 3 to 6 months. They can also be part time or full time jobs.
Training and support is provided through a guide, who co-owns the project with the returnee. Stipends are also offered depending on the nature and duration of work, previous experience and educational qualification.
#21. Dr Reddy's Comeback Careers for Women
Dr Reddy’s launched this unique platform where they provide career opportunities to women who have taken a break from professional work to devote more time and energy to the demands of their personal lives. They say, “Your break will not be a deterrent to the hiring decision. You will be evaluated fairly and solely on merit. Only your qualifications and prior experience – roles, responsibilities and performance in the previous organization/s - will be considered.”
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HUL has a program called Career By Choice, which allows a balance between personal and professional needs. It provides a smooth transition to the workspace with structure and support.
#23. TATA SCIP (Second Career Internship Programme)
In March 2008, Tata group launched a career transition management program for women professionals who took a 6-months break and wanted to re-enter the professional space. The program is called Tata SCIP (Second Career Internship Programme)and it absorbs some of the women on flexi-hour assignments with various TATA companies at the end of the internship.
#24. Larsen & Toubro's - Renew
Renew is an initiative which stems from their strong belief in diversity & equal career opportunities for all. It is aimed at providing a platform through which women professionals can re-enter the corporate world after a career break.
#25. Phillips – B.I.G.
In an attempt to address the difficulties faced by women returning to work, Phillips has launched Back in the Game (B.I.G) a platform for women talent to return to a corporate career, after a break (life-cycle, personal or any other reason). This internship program provides women mentorship and an environment of flexibility as they resume their careers with Philips India. The program was first launched in 2013, they absorbed some of the participants into full-time roles in 2014, and then announced the launch of the second edition of B.I.G.
#26. Eaton - ReLaunch
The ReLaunch is a Career Transition Program for women professionals in India who have taken a break in their career and are now looking to restart their professional journey. Through the program, Eaton in India aims to provide women professionals flexibility, challenge and opportunity to recreate their niche in the professional world. The program aims to encourage women to continue their quest for excellence, providing them full-time job opportunities in various domains at Eaton in India.
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