Our new blogger Laura Izard is a passionate advocate for older workers, particularly returners, and feels things are more positive now for women in the workplace whatever their age.
Laura Izard is in a perfect position to support returners coming into the workplace. Not only does she work in recruitment, but she has first-hand experience of the challenges of coming back after a career break.
Laura had her children, Ben and Annabelle, in her late 30s and early 40s after IVF treatment and took around six years out of her career in talent acquisition to care for them.
She knows all too well how professional confidence can take a knock after time out of the workplace and feels strongly that returners have a lot to offer employers and should not be precluded from doing that due to their cv gap. She says that in addition to her career break she did a lot of “other stuff”. “Through that time I volunteered, worked pro-bono, worked for a friend and did a million other things, just not Monday to Friday in the same workplace drawing an annual salary.” It just took her a while to value that stuff.
With support from a contact, Laura returned to a recruitment job at PA Consulting, a management consultancy, four years ago and has run their returners campaign. Her work makes her well placed to give advice to other returners and she has started writing a blog which offers free advice and podcast interviews with other returners. “I can give buckets of advice on being a normal person going through the recruitment process,” she says, “and I can debunk the myths about what employers are looking for and give advice on presentation, attitude and how to pitch things, including how to get your cv through automated systems or how to work around the system.”
She adds: “If I can avoid just one person going through the crisis of confidence that I did in going back to work after a break I will be delighted.”
Laura is also a passionate advocate for older workers and feels things are more positive now for women in the workplace whatever their age. “Employers are keen to increase their diversity and inclusion statistics,” she says, “and get more women on shortlists. Many organisations need to reflect the people they are working with. That is good for building up relations over time. Women who have had career breaks tend to be coming back in their 40s and 50s. They have a good body of experience, both at home and at work. They tend to be loyal workers.”
She adds: “By 2020, one third of the workforce in the UK will be over 50. We need to be able to have sustainable, interesting work that sees us through and is manageable given the pace of life for most…I want to add my voice to the movement of women who are celebrating careers that become more enriched and enrich others later in life. Age diversity in the workplace is a thing to be celebrated.”
*Laura will be writing a monthly blog for workingwise.co.uk offering advice to employers and employees on returners and getting back to work.