Introducing the Returner Open Badge

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 reenter 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.

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? 

? Introducing the Returner Open Badge ?

We created this badge for forward-thinking Irish organisations invested in creating a diverse and inclusive workplace open to all.

The Returner Open badge unlocks dynamic recruitment opportunities. Finding diverse and experienced talent is always challenging; Returners offer a pipeline of new talent. When you sign up for the Returner Open badge, you will be added to our directory, making it easier for Returners to identify Returner-friendly companies who understand the value they can bring to your organisation.

The Returner Open badge is also an impactful asset in your marketing arsenal.

Displayed on your website, social media and hiring materials, you can send a powerful message to existing and potential employees that you are an inclusive employer, open to promoting and encouraging gender & age diversity in your workplace.

Are you in?…

Next Steps

  • If you are a HR Manager, Team Manager, Recruiter

If you are ready to reap the benefits of a Returner-friendly workplace, please reach out to us at for more information on our Returner Open Badge and further supports.

  • If you are a Returner

Register for a Back to Work Connect account and unlock access to job opportunities with Returner-Friendly employers, webinars, courses and additional support resources.

  • If you are an employee

We’d love your support in getting the word out about our campaign. Please share this post directly with your manager or HR team or share on social media using the hashtag #ReturnerOpen