Vodafone is launching a new recruitment programme to bring talented women back into the workplace after a career break. The global initiative will increase the number of women in management roles, with around 10% of all Vodafone external management hires recruited through the ReConnect programme over the next three years.
According to the company, the initiative is the largest recruitment programme for women on career breaks in the world. It will be rolled out across Vodafone’s 26 operating markets.
The aim is to attract and hire 1,000 talented women who have left the workplace for several years who would like to return to work on a full-time or flexible basis but are struggling to make the professional connections needed or refresh the skills required.
To combat these inhibitors, the programme will include training and induction programmes to refresh and enhance professional skills and help candidates prepare for their return to work. At a company level, hiring managers will receive unconscious bias training, and employment terms will include flexible working options and a phased return to work.
Vodafone Group chief executive Vittorio Colao said: “Companies often struggle to recruit and retain women in management and leadership roles. Innovations such as our global maternity policy and now our new ReConnect programme can make a real difference to women who work for us today and who will work for us in the future.”
Economic research commissioned by Vodafone from KPMG indicates that there are an estimated 96 million skilled women aged 30-54 on career breaks worldwide, of whom an estimated 55 million have experience at middle-manager level and above.
Separately, in a survey for Vodafone by GfK among around 500 women more than 80% of respondents said that more support is needed for women who want to return to the workplace following a career break, as well as for working women with family and care responsibilities. Many women said they wanted the option to work flexibly (61%) or part time (51%).
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