Why smart SME firms are harnessing the power of the returner market (and what your company can do about it)

30 Aug 2019

Business Business School

There is no denying that business recruitment is expensive and, let’s be honest, painful if you don’t get it right.  In fact, the recruitment industry itself is so important it grew 11% last year and is now worth an extraordinary £35.7 billion in the UK.

For several years UK companies and even recruitment consultants by their own admission have been guilty of being a little rigid with recruitment, poring over CV’s in a rather traditional, mechanical and sometimes judgmental fashion.

There has also been a heavy focus on Apprenticeships and other work and training initiatives, aimed at the younger workforce.

However, in the midst of all this, it appears a whole raft of experienced workers have been overlooked and sometimes forgotten, often penalised for having a gap on their CV due to an often necessary career break.

Spare a thought then for the returner market. A market so valuable, a recent government-backed research project estimated that it could be worth up to £150 Billion to the UK in the next six years.  So why is British business now waking up to this market?

In a recent government survey, employers highlighted that their biggest concern with the returner market was a potential lack of relevant up to date knowledge or skills. However, if you are looking at expanding your workforce, recruiting from new “returnship” programmes negates this concern, providing companies access to people who are already skilled and experienced, but who may be hesitant to apply for jobs due to their time out of a traditional workforce.

This is where savvy businesses are now focusing, recognising that there is a wealth of untapped talent available, where skills of applicants really only need some minor fine-tuning.These companies are also sensitive to the fact that a returner can save a business an absolute fortune in employee development.

Why returner programmes benefit businesses

Reignite Bootcamp at St Helens Chamber provides a raft of highly skilled, motivated people who have already undergone training and mentoring.  Reignite Bootcamp allows companies to access management and senior level people that may not yet be on the recruitment treadmill.

Secondly, returners already come armed with previous experience and life skills that often cost businesses a lot of time and money to develop with new employees.  Professionals with existing experience and skills may only need targeted training or a development programme to get up to speed. This allows returners to hit the ground running, reducing training costs and delivering a faster return on investment to employers.

Transferrable skills invaluable to business

Returners also bring a different dimension of interpersonal skills to the workplace.
Capable business people who left a position to care for children or family members, tend to  develop or improve other skills such as leadership, organisation, time management, negotiation and multi-tasking during a “career break”; all valuable and transferrable skills a business can benefit from.

More enlightened employers are now beginning to see this huge value, where historically others have just sadly focused on a gap on a CV. Businesses who are moving away from a traditional recruitment strategy and have more flexibility are now accounting more for prospective employees, experience, life skills and even enthusiasm, and it is paying dividends.

If you want further proof of the value to the UK economy of the returner market, a separate report commissioned by Price Waterhouse Cooper, concluded that the UK economy is already missing out by £1.7 billion GDP per annum, due to the so-called “career break” penalty. It’s a value to be tapped into.

Of course,  there are never any guarantees with any form of recruitment. However, it is clear that bringing experienced talent through via a scheme like Reignite Bootcamp can save your business time and money that may otherwise take many years to cultivate.

Tracy Mawson, Deputy Chief Executive at St Helens Chamber, said: “The calibre of returners on Reignite Bootcamp is superb and is a testimony to the talent in the returner market.  Local employers already see the value of the programme as it does remove some of the pain of recruitment and the cost of ongoing training.”

For more information about Reignite Bootcamp call Danielle Brooks on 01744 742013 or email danielle.brooks@sthelenschamber.com