Women returning to work in IT rarely receive feedback from job applications
A survey of the ReBoot programme participants revealed that, despite being active in their job search (23% applying for more than 20 roles), female returners have still been unsuccessful through normal recruitment channels.
Indeed, 63% report hardly ever or never receiving feedback to their job applications, with a further 51% stating they had personally experienced bias in the recruitment sector.
It said 29% believe the biggest barrier to returning to the workforce is ‘finding opportunities’, followed by ‘personal confidence’ at 22%. Still, 80% feel that the returner programmes have helped them permanently return to the workforce.
The survey coincides with the opening of applications for the September 2021 Women ReBoot programme. An initiative of Technology Ireland Digital Skillnet, WomenReBoot has helped more than 200 female returners find permanent positions in the ICT sector since it began in 2016.
The programme, funded by Technology Ireland Digital Skillnet, involves an intensive four-week training module focusing on critical thinking, learning mindset, cloud and database essentials, innovation business modelling, confidence and resilience building, in addition to four one-to-one coaching sessions.
The training module is followed by a 12-week work placement with one of the more than 40 companies that have partnered with Technology Ireland Digital Skillnet (including Dell, Accenture, Citibank, McAfee, Mastercard, Ultan Technologies, Flipdish and Microsoft.)
“I don’t understand why it’s so difficult for women to come back into the workforce after only a two-year career break, in some cases,” said Claire Chung, CIO Citibank Europe PLC. “It baffles me. We take graduates all the time with no experience, yet people with so much experience find it difficult to come back in. Citi has taken six candidates from the Women ReBoot programme, and are passionate about continuing to support it.”
“I became more responsible, self-sufficient and resilient as a result of running my own business and raising my family,” said Gervaise Landy, senior engineer and Women ReBoot participant. “Maturity, empathy and life experience all helped me to be a better employee. Most employers state they support a diverse workforce. If they explicitly listed returners as one of the groups they are open to, it would encourage more to apply. The ReBoot programme was hugely beneficial to me and I would highly recommend it to any women preparing to return following a career break.”
Kathryn Cullen, programme director, Technology Ireland Digital Skillnet, added: “Women take career breaks for a variety of reasons, including maternity or caring responsibilities, health or simply by choice. We’re delighted that Women ReBoot has helped so many returners to overcome the barriers to re-entry and also enabling the ICT sector to connect with this untapped pool of talent. It’s particularly encouraging to see that many of the alumni have fast-tracked their careers after returning and have been promoted many times. We’re excited to welcome a new group of participants to the programme in September.”
Candidates with previous IT experience and/or qualifications who have been out of the workforce for a minimum of two years can apply for the Women ReBoot programme online. Closing date for application is 18 August 2021.
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