According to the FSO, around 84,000 mothers, often highly qualified, are currently ready to return to work after a career break. These numbers do not include women and men who voluntarily took extended breaks to care for family members or for other personal reasons. Despite this high number and the prevailing shortage of skilled workers, only a few organisations in Switzerland systematically implement career re-entry programmes.
With the support of the Federal Office for Gender Equality, the Institute for Financial Services Zug of the Lucerne School of Business developed a professional range of services to support employers in the introduction, implementation and evaluation of returnship programmes. Returnships bring women and men back to the workplace after a break of several years. Career return program offer women and men an opportunity to update and demonstrate their skills and rebuild their professional credibility. Employers who integrate qualified returnees with a professional approach benefit from a highly motivated, loyal, and well-trained talent pool.
The project entitled Professional Returnships Program officially started in January 2019. Since then we have gained valuable insight through our work with companies as well as through two separate conferences for employers and returners. These conferences provided not only a platform to discuss the challenges and opportunities when implementing returnship programmes but yielded important information on the needs and expectations of both employers and returners. Based on the accumulated experience locally as well as our learnings through interactions with partners abroad on best practices, the second phase of the project will be the launching of the Companies & Returners Network – CRN, an online and offline platform which will bring together companies and returners and provide a range of services to both.