Viewpoint | 11 Jun 2018

Helping parents to get back on track and make the most of their working lives

Taking a career break to bring up a family shouldn’t have to mean giving up a career permanently, argues Helen Lamprell, General Counsel & External Affairs Director, Vodafone UK.

As a society, we can and must do more to make it easier for parents to return to work, if they want to. If we are to address the skills shortages many UK businesses face, it’s vital that we take action now. But how can policymakers and business leaders ensure we’re doing the right things to help more parents back into work?

This report from the Social Market Foundation, titled ‘Back on Track: Making the Most of Parents’ Working Lives’, is supported by Vodafone UK and offers a set of policy recommendations to help answer that question. First, it looks at how becoming a parent affects the career paths of men and women. Next, it identifies the hurdles parents face when making the transition back into work. Many parents worry about how to refresh their skillsets, and whether they will be able to thrive in their careers if they work part-time. Despite having work experience and expertise, they may be overlooked in the recruitment process simply because of a prolonged gap on their CV. That’s a missed opportunity for everyone – the parent applying for the role, and the employer looking for talent.


Helping parents get back on track after a career break

At Vodafone, we are committed to making it easier for parents on a career break to find their way back into work. Last year we launched ReConnect, a recruitment programme that targets returners – people who have left the workplace for several years, who would like to return to work on a full-time or flexible basis. Thanks to ReConnect, which is open to men and women, we have discovered talented professionals whose skills and experience are valuable assets in the workplace. To help more employers set up their own returner programmes, Vodafone recently partnered with the Women’s Business Council and Government Equalities Office to publish a Toolkit of best practices.

This report provides a fresh perspective on how policymakers and business leaders can support parents back into work. I hope its insights will help more parents to return to work when the time is right for them.

Read “Back on Track: Making the Most of Parents’ Working Lives” by clicking on the Download Report button.