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2020年11月CATTI三级笔译英译汉原文出处
文章来源:金融时报 发布时间:2020-11-14 17:42 作者:金融时报 点击:

2020年11月CATTI三笔笔译英译汉原文出处:

来源:金融时报

https://www.ft.com/content/16ef6eb2-9a8d-11e6-8f9b-70e3cabccfae

Women head back to work with ‘returnships’

At 51, Cathy McDonnell wanted to put her Oxford physics degree and former experience crunching data at Qinetiq to better use. She had worked part-time in a school for several years while her three children were young, but she wanted to get back into the corporate world.

Several applications later, all for jobs in her former field of defence, she was getting nowhere. Then a friend told her about “returnships”, a form of later-life work experience that some companies are experimenting with to help older people — mainly women — return to work, often after breaks to care for families.

Ms McDonnell eventually secured a place on an 11-week “Career Returners” programme with O2, open to men and women, which included being buddied with a 20-year-old male student who was also with the company on work experience. He helped to acquaint her with new technology, such as using an iPhone and accessing the company’s virtual private network from her laptop so she could work from home but still access internal files.

“On the assessment day, I thought they must have been looking at my project management skills. But they weren’t looking at us for specific roles. They were just thinking, ‘These women have a lot to offer, let’s see what they can do.’ That was refreshing.”

O2 is one of a clutch of companies, in the UK and the US, that have spotted an opportunity in hiring female returnees, who can put to use again technical skills learnt earlier in their careers.

Fans of returnships — the concept was pioneered in 2008 by the late Brenda Barnes, former chief executive at food company Sara Lee — believe middle-aged women returning after a break make particularly good employees, because they bring a fresh perspective and reflect more diverse clients and customers. Women tend to combine high emotional intelligence with strong leadership and organisational skills.

There is a “massive pool of highly skilled people who want to return to work,” says Julie Thornton, head of human resources at Tideway, an engineering company building a multibillion pound “super sewer” in London.

“Recruitment agencies typically view people who have had two years out as a risk, but we see them as a great opportunity.”

Tideway is hiring older women in part because it has a target of gender parity across its business by 2023. Women comprise 36 per cent of its workforce now. Older, highly qualified workers help to balance the graduates it takes on.

This is not because of sexist notions that mothers are good at multitasking, coaching or mentoring. In fact, by hiring female returnees, companies can access hard skills these women developed in their former high-level jobs — and for a discount. In return, employers coach older females back into working life.

Through her returnship, Ms McDonnell gained a full-time role as an operations data consultant, handling projects within service management at O2.She still is earning less than she would like to. “But it’s a foot in the door and the salary is up for review in six months,” she says.

It is still overwhelmingly women who stay home to care for young families. UK government figures show that women account for around 90 per cent of people on extended career breaks for caring reasons.

A lack of older women working, particularly in highly skilled roles, is costing the UK economy £50bn a year, according to a report last year from Radix, a new British think-tank that aims to promote “the radical centre”. This was the amount that women over the age of 50 would have earned in 2015 had they made as much as their male peers, according to Nick Tyrone, chief executive. “This would have resulted in around £9.5bn extra [in income tax] to the Treasury,” he adds.

The report found that men over 50 took home nearly two-thirds of the total wages paid out to everyone in that age range in 2015. It blamed the pay gap on the low-skilled, part-time roles older women often accept. Some 41 per cent of women in work in the UK do so part-time, as opposed to only 11 per cent of men, according to Radix.

This issue is not restricted to the UK. A study last year by economists at the University of California at Irvine and Tulane University found “robust evidence of age discrimination in hiring against older women” in a range of white and blue-collar jobs. The data show that it is harder for older women to find jobs than it is for older men regardless of whether they have taken a break from working.

“Women often don’t feel they are up to working when they are. They just need a little bit of help to realise,” says Emma Bowman, who switched careers from investment banking to a portfolio job with Lloyds Banking Group, thanks to a returnship.

A former investment banker at Merrill Lynch, as a broker of Asian equities to London institutions, she returned to work after a 14-year break spent looking after children and running her own company.

Her current role means she works across a number of pan-bank projects, including running conferences and being a charity ambassador.

At Tideway, Ms Thornton’s scheme took on seven returnees in the first year, and three the year after. All were women, although Thornton says about 5 per cent of applicants were men. Most participants returned to roles similar to those they held in their early careers, joining the company’s finance, legal, project management, quality assurance and administration departments. A few had engineering backgrounds, so returned to relevant projects.

Each person was assigned a “buddy”, not necessarily in their department, who mentored them in how the company worked.

“The 12 weeks are like a very long interview. It gives both parties a really good opportunity to decide if returning permanently is what both sides want,” says Ms Thornton.

In total, eight of the scheme’s participants, who were aged between 30 and 60, were taken on permanently after the three-month returnship in a variety of professional roles at commensurate salaries for their positions.

Ms Bowman returned to banking following Lloyds’ 10-week programme, which she joined in 2016. She was part of a 15-strong group that received personal coaching and a series of bespoke training sessions to help them re-acclimatise in roles ranging from consumer finance and retail banking, to IT and commercial banking.

To help them regain confidence, each person gets teamed up with a mentor within their business area, plus a colleague who completed the previous year’s programme. Starting this year, they will also be given a mentor in another part of the group. In addition, they receive internal training on their specific roles and various personal development sessions on a variety of topics.

When the 16 weeks are up, they can choose to continue in the job they have been doing, or apply for other vacancies.

Ms Bowman says she particularly valued the regular roundtable meetings with heads of functions and directors across the group. Her role multitasking across the bank is perhaps something she would not have been so well qualified for before she took time out, she adds.

As a mother of six, however, she says she learnt “to have a lot of different things in the air and juggle”.

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