Opinion: Tamsin’s take

Tamsin Napier-Munn, who heads up our Women in Business campaign, discusses the importance of the returner – and why employers could do more to nurture this talent pool….

According to research by PwC, despite the gains the UK has made in improving female labour market outcomes, there’s still significant underutilised potential, and one such group is professional women returning from career breaks.
The research shows that addressing the career break penalty could deliver gains of £1.7 billion to the UK economy. When women’s contribution to the recovery and success of the UK is seen as critical, why aren’t we doing more to harness this talent pool?
Part of the reluctance of women to re-enter a career and rejoin the path is of course the ‘chasm’ that women perceive is left once they remove themselves from the work environment for a period of time – whether it’s being out of touch with what’s happening in their industry, or simply feeling as though they will need to ‘prove themselves’ once again by starting at a lower level. 
What are employers doing to bridge that gap? How can they encourage talented and experienced women to return to work, and help them through that transition to get up to speed faster and with confidence? 
The tech sector is also considered vital to a thriving economy where competition is fierce and where the UK and indeed the global economy is so uncertain. Why is it then that women are currently occupying just 17% of tech jobs and fewer than one in 10 of these women are in leadership positions and only 4% are software engineers? How are schools and universities making these sectors ‘attractive to young women’ and how are they nurturing this female talent to ensure we capitalise on the opportunities for the future?
Welcome to our Women in Business eNewsletter, where we not only showcase events and activities that we hope will inspire you to attempt something you hadn’t thought possible, but also seek answers through conversations and open dialogue, which in turn could open up opportunities for better ways of supporting women in business.