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Back To Work Connect launched in early 2020 with the focused vision of a world that values the contribution midlife worker’s make to the economy and to facilitates their engagement in meaningful and financially viable employment opportunities.

Over the past few years, our continued goal is to raise awareness of the powerful impact & value the Returner community in Ireland can bring to the workforce.

We partner with forward-thinking organisations like yours  nationwide to design and create supportive & impactful return to work initiatives and ultimately, promote truly inclusive work environments for all.

Take the quiz


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According to PwC’s annual Women in Work report, progress for women in the workplace could be back at 2017 levels by the end of 2021 as a result of the pandemic.

To undo this damage caused by COVID-19 – progress towards gender equality in the workplace must be accelerated. And we need companies across Ireland to get on board, fast.

At Back to Work Connect, we are passionate about providing the tools, resources and support for women looking to re-enter the workforce following a career break. And so, our latest campaign calls on Irish organisations to adopt a Returner-friendly approach, aided by our Returner Open badge.

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But first, what (who) is a Returner?

Unfortunately, there is often a disconnect between women looking to resume employment following a career break and the actual opportunities available to them. A fundamental reason for this can be linked to the many myths and misconceptions associated with the term “Returner”.

These misconceptions lead to the undermining of an experienced, talented and hard-working pool of well-deserving female candidates who are eager to return to the workplace following a career gap.

Because of this career gap, female Returners can also face additional challenges such as gender pay gaps, unfair recruitment bias, assumptions, judgement and missed opportunities.

Among the most significant challenges is the misunderstanding of what Returners are looking for when re-entering the workforce.

Misconceptions like:

  • Requiring special allowances

  • Demanding hand-holding or extra attention

  • Needing special training or additional resources

In reality, returners are looking for:

  • Career development opportunities

  • Support

  • Job satisfaction

  • Flexibility

  • Identity (outside of the Returner” label)


Returner-Friendly Recruitment

Highly experienced women who take career breaks for childcare or eldercare often face heavy recruitment bias due to a lack of recent experience.

When it comes to Recruitment, “Diversity and Inclusion” can, in some cases, become a tick box exercise. We call on Irish organisations to ditch the tick box exercise and work on tangible actions towards a more gender, age, cultural & ethnically diverse workforce.

HR Managers, Team Managers & Recruiters, can all play a crucial role in changing this by:

  • Ensuring that their hiring process is returner-friendly

  • Viewing experience & skills holistically- considering the experience gained during the career break and the personal skills that may have been developed.

  • Displaying our “Returner Open” badge to communicate to Returners that you are open to applications.

Understanding the Value of Returners

Did you know that the most diverse companies are 21% more likely to see above-average profitability?

Forward-thinking employers are continuing to prioritise diversity and inclusion in the workplace. Part of this process includes recognising the value Returner talent can bring to an organisation.

When you hire a Returner, you are opening your organisation and teams up to some profound benefits. These benefits for both the organisation and the Returner are far-reaching, including;

  • Access to an experienced talent pool

  • Gender & Age Diversity

  • Progress towards reducing internal Gender Pay Gap

  • Opportunity to tackle skills shortages

  • Highly motivated candidates

  • Cost-Effective Recruitment

  • Opportunity to fill mid-to-senior level roles with experienced female talent

So, how can you attract this talent to your company?


By taking part in this short questionnaire, you’re helping us achieve our mission towards a Returner-Open Ireland

In return, our team is here to provide the tools & resources your organisation needs to take the next step in its returner-open journey.

Thank You