The economic fluctuations caused by the COVID-19 pandemic left millions of Americans out of work, but women were particularly impacted. Nearly 1.8 million women dropped out of the labor force amid the pandemic, and while job growth is now surging and economists predict that 2021 will be the best year for growth in almost four decades, women — especially low-income women and women of color — are struggling with how and when to go back to work.
The pandemic did not create this problem; growth in women’s participation in the workforce has been stagnant since the turn of millennium. Women have held more jobs than men just twice in the last twenty years: in 2010 and in January 2020.
In her recent Forbes article, Rebecca Henderson, CEO of Randstad Global Businesses and executive board member suggests that employers and the federal government need to incentivize more women to get back in the job market with paid family leave, flexible work schedules, and remote working options to remedy this situation.
But even with these incentives, starting a new job can be daunting, especially for someone who has been out of work for a while, and many potential employees would relish an opportunity to refresh their skills, learn new ones, boost their experience, and expand their network before diving headfirst into a new career. A “returnship” — or career comeback program — ticks all of these boxes and gives employers the bonus of testing out a potential employee before they are brought on full time.