Aviva Investors has relaunched a return to work programme as it looks to recruit experienced professionals for a placement at the asset management firm.
The 2020 Return to Work programme aims to remove barriers for experienced finance professionals looking to re-enter the workforce after an extended career break of two years or more.
Last year the programme provided placements to eight people — of which four found full-time roles at Aviva Investors — but this year the firm is looking to recruit up to 10 people.
Those on the six-month placement scheme, which is aimed at mid-to-senior level professionals with a background in asset management or wider financial services, will work in an area that fits with their previous experience, receive coaching, mentoring and training, and be tasked with delivering a specific project for the business.
Kirsty Baldock, head of talent acquisition at Aviva Investors, said the business was committed to supporting individuals who had taken a career break and was delighted to be running this scheme for a second year.
She said: “Last year’s campaign exceeded our expectations, and we are expecting strong demand again this year.
“This is a talent pool that is often overlooked by the general recruitment market, which can miss people who have been out of work for an extended period.”
Nita Pattni, previous participant in the scheme and now-client services manager at the firm, said the programme highlighted that skills and knowledge do not disappear after a career break.
She added: “The aims of the programme have been embraced at all levels of the business. I don’t feel stigmatised because I’m a returner or excluded because I’m a woman or of colour — it’s very integrated.”
Meanwhile fellow programme participant and investment director, Emily McDonald, said she was worried she would have to choose between having a family or a successful career but that the scheme allowed her to balance the two.
Anna Sofat, chief executive of Addidi, said: “It’s great to see Aviva are proactively addressing the issues that surround re-entering the workplace.
“If we look at the industry and the research that has already been undertaken, the average age a women leaves the industry is 38. There is no surprise that few make it through that sticky middle but with more initiatives like this, we can change that narrative.”
Ms Sofat thought there was still more to be done — such as equal support through the maternity process and the normalisation of flexible working — and that she looked forward to seeing Aviva and other firms in the industry adopt more purposeful cultures.
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