‘She’s Back’ event launch Posted on

30 April, London

Could women be the biggest source of untapped potential in the UK?
Companies lose over £2 million per year. 

New Research published today from She’s Back and University of Edinburgh Business School suggests that corporate Britain could be saving millions by re-engaging with women who left their careers for family reasons but who are now ready and willing to return.

On founding the research Deb Khan, co-founder of She’s Back explains “We sat in Victoria Park last summer and looked across at all the women we knew who used to have big jobs in advertising, banking, you name it and wondered if any of them had considered returning to their previous career. No one we knew had returned to a professional career after a long career break. Why not?”

She’s Back enlisted the support of businesses across a number of sectors and exclusively partnered with leading companies to support the research including Allen & Overy, AXA, Santander, DLKW Lowe, News UK and the University of Edinburgh Business School.

The results showed three major headlines:

Results show that 70% of women who leave do so because they find it impossible to combine their career and family life. A substantial number leave high powered careers even before they have had children. They look above and cannot see realistic role models; they find themselves working excessive hours; they may not even have a partner yet and they walk away to find an alternative role which could enable them to both work and be a mother.

84% of the 1,100 women who responded to the survey said that they did want to return, if not now, then in the future – and they wanted to return to fulfilling, challenging work. They want to be back on a career track, fully engaged with the organisation they are working for. However, 75% of them don’t believe that there is enough flexibility in the workplace. They cite a culture of “presenteeism, long hours and an over-emphasis on face time as factors which mitigate against women with families being successful.”

Women join with as much, and in some cases more, enthusiasm and talent as men but the bleak picture painted here is that they walk away, in large numbers, across sectors as diverse as law and advertising. And at what cost?

Dr Tom Calvard, Lecturer in Human Resource Management at University of Edinburgh Business School provided the quantitative analysis. He said:

“Employees are any organisation’s greatest assets, and replacing them can be costly when they decide to move on – regardless of gender. But losing women from the workforce is a particular problem, as they remain particularly poorly represented at more senior levels.

“Based on our analysis*, the cost of replacing women who leave the workforce could be as much as £2m per year for an average large firm with more than 1,000 employees. When you take into account other factors such as lost productivity and the impact on the motivation of others, the true cost could be far higher.”

Lisa Unwin, Founder of She’s Back responds, “This is a catastrophic waste of talent. It’s 2015. Businesses need to wake up. Disruptive models are emerging in all sectors, using digital technology, agile working and innovative solutions to tap into this talent pool. They are challenging the prevalent culture of presenteeism and face time. They are changing the rules of engagement. Traditional businesses need to do the same – the prize is access to a highly skilled, motivated, creative, productive and loyal workforce.”

She’s Back provides support, advice and solutions for women who want to re-engage with organisations and for organisations who recognise the value they have to offer.

About She’s Back

She’s Back provides support, advice and solutions to help women return to professional life after an extended break and to assist organisations who recognise their value and potential. Founded on unique research, clients range from media and advertising to financial services and law.

About Lisa Unwin

Lisa is the founder and Chief Executive of She’s Back. She founded the company in the autumn of 2014, drawing on her own experience and her observations of the persistent lack of female talent in the senior ranks of businesses across the UK.
Lisa graduated from Loughborough University with a first class degree in Banking and Finance and went on to a career with Arthur Andersen, where she became a partner in 2000. Lisa moved to Deloitte when the firm took over Andersen in 2002, where she became Director of Brand and Communication. She left the firm to take a career break in 2008. She has two children and also works as a magistrate in East London.

About Deb Khan
Deborah Khan is the co-Founder of She’s Back. Deb graduated from Goldsmiths College with a degree in Performing Art and went on to a career in Theatre and in Education, as an award- winning teacher. Her theatre work includes The Royal Opera House and The National Theatre both directing and running corporate workshops. She formed her own company specialising in Creativity, Leadership and Communication in 1999. Her client list spans international technology companies, global advertising firms, Publishing, large charities, Government Departments and international retail brands.
Deb recognises the issues She’s Back are committed to addressing across all of her clients. She has two children and lives in east London.