The Lived Experience of the Returner Talent Pool

In 2020, MyKindaFuture (MKF) and enei published The Lived Experience of the Returner Talent Pool. This research was based on a survey conducted with a focus group of anonymous returners. A returner is someone who has come back to the workplace after taking a career break. The results of the survey were gathered into a report that examined the lived experience of returners.


The results of the research may provide you and your organisation with practical advice on how to engage and support returners. You and your organisation might benefit by being inclusive and providing opportunities to returners who would otherwise face barriers or be overlooked in the talent pool. 

What impact does returnship have on the workplace? 

Returning to work after a career break can be daunting. Returners may lack confidence, feeling unsure about which way to go, how to get there, or whether it is even possible.  A woman sitting in a conference room smiling at the camera.

The purpose of this report was to find out more about the concerns of returners and explore the challenges they face when going back to work. According to the findings, areas for improvement between employers and returners included increased communication, more support in technical upskilling, and less complex HR processes.  

There were other noteworthy findings, including: 

  • 67% attributing childcare responsibilities as their reason for being out of the workplace for more than one year.  
  • 47% returning primarily to continue their careers. 
  • 47% requiring support between the employment offer and the actual start date. 
  • 21% requesting support (but not receiving any) from their employers upon their return. Those receiving support felt the most effective measures came in the form of mentoring, peer-to-peer networks, and employer feedback. 

This research was conducted by MyKindaFuture and enei. The report was published in December 2020. The Lived Experience of the Returner Talent Pool is available to download.

The information contained within this resource was accurate at the time of its publication. This post was created on 11 April 2022. 

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