Returners to Financial Services Scotland Programme

Creating Routes Back to Work for Women after a Career Break – Case Study

Women Returners partnered with 12 leading Scottish financial services employers, with the support of the Scottish Government Returners Fund, to launch an innovative cross-company returner programme. This programme was targeted at experienced professional women looking to return to work after an extended career break who are interested in working in the financial services sector. Participating companies were: BlackRock, BNP Paribas Securities Services, CYBG, Hymans Robertson, Incremental Group, Independent Women, Mazars UK, Mearns & Company, Prudential, RBS Group, Standard Life Aberdeen and TSB.

This Programme enabled organisations to pilot a small-scale (1-4 person) returnship in a highly cost-effective manner, and facilitated 28 experienced financial services professional women on an extended career break to get back into skilled employment. 78% of these women secured ongoing employment at the end of the programme.

The Returnship Programme

A returnship is a paid higher-level internship for professionals returning after a long career break, with transition support provided and a possibility of ongoing employment at the end of the programme if it is successful for both company and returner. The Returners to Financial Services Scotland Programme  ran for 3 months, starting in April 2018, and was driven by the recruitment needs of the participating organisations. Government funding paid for all of the consulting, promotional, manager and participant support for the programme, including a returnship toolkit, programme advertising, line manager training and a four-stage cohort-based Returner Coaching Programme. Participating companies  provided suitable-level professional work, will pay returner salaries and will provide an internal mentor.

What are the business benefits?

Returning professional women are a relatively untapped high-calibre talent pool. Accessing this hard-to-reach group helps to refill the female talent pipeline at managerial levels. Increasing diversity of gender, age and experience has been proven to improve financial performance and innovation and helps to strengthen client relationships. Returnships have a track record of demonstrated success in the financial services sector in England and the USA, with the majority of participants taken on into ongoing roles and many organisations now including returnships as part of their annual recruitment process.

Employers participating in this programme received the benefit of a full support package for your organisation and the returners, together with the opportunity to share cross-company learnings.

About Women Returners

Women Returners is a consulting, coaching and network organisation working with employers across sectors to access, support and retain returning professionals. We pioneered the introduction of returnships into the UK and have led the rapid growth of the returner programme market in England. We have partnered with over 50 leading employers to design, promote and deliver tailored returner programmes. Our Returner Coaching Programme has successfully supported many returner cohorts on their transition back to work. Via our ever-expanding free Women Returners Professional Network, we are able to access the hard-to-reach group of professionals on career break.


Advertising launched in January 2018 with a launch event in Edinburgh and Glasgow.

Returnships ran from April-July 2018.


100% of employers were satisfied with the programme.

78% of returners were hired into ongoing roles at the end of the programme


If your organisation is interested in participating in future similar programmes, please email for further information.

In the press

Our programme generated lots of excellent media activity in Scotland.  You can read (and listen to) a selection here: