Can you tell us how you heard of Deloitte’s Return to Work programme?
When my youngest child was entering school, I began considering returning to work. My first stop was attending an ICAEW comeback community event focused on regaining your professional identity. It was at this event that I heard about Deloitte’s Return to Work programme. I was later approached by Deloitte via LinkedIn to attend an insight day about the programme. I did, and so began my journey back to work.
Just attending the insight day was inspiring and gave me a massive boost in confidence. I had thought that I might need to take a step down, but the whole point of the programme is that it encourages you to come back at the same level. It was also great to meet other women like me and to have some support – for example, my CV was totally out of date.
What advice would you give to a tax professional contemplating whether or not to return to work?
Just go for it. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain. That’s what I’d say to anyone thinking about restarting their career after a break. We’ve all been there and thought ‘I can’t do it’. But you can. I was considering taking a part time management job at a pre-school, until I heard about the Deloitte Return to Work programme. I’d lost confidence; my world had narrowed and I’d lowered my expectations.
This is a fantastic opportunity to get back on the career ladder. The programme gives you a chance to get back up to speed. You still have to deliver, but in a more supportive environment.
How would you describe the support you have been offered since joining in 2015?
You are supported in lots of different ways. During the 12 week Return to Work internship in tax, I had a buddy and mentor to help me work out what sort of permanent role I might suit: I now work supporting Deloitte’s tax offering to clients.
Support is there in your day-to-day role too, from your line manager, team and mentor. But you also feel totally supported by the executive sponsorship of the programme. We had lunches with people like Nick Owen, David Sproul and Emma Codd. It was great to understand their approach and see how important addressing the attrition of senior women is to the agenda. The firm passionately believes there is a pool of untapped female talent, who struggle to get back to their careers.
What does agile working mean to you?
I like the Deloitte approach of “agile” as opposed to “flexible” working, because it’s exactly that. Now I commute into London from near Reading, but I take advantage of agile working, so I spend some of my four days a week working from the Reading office.
Deloitte is ahead of the curve in understanding that well-rounded people produce good work. We are not machines. Before I joined the programme, one of the most amazing things I heard was at the insight day: Emma Codd said to us that sheunderstands that our life outside work is the most important thing. I’d never heard anyone say that before in a business context. It’s so refreshing. It means we can be honest. If you’re leaving early to go to a parents’ evening you can say so. Because we are trusted to deliver, regardless of how and where we work. That’s what agile means: trust. It was understood from the start I’d work in an agile way. The level of trust here has really impressed me.
Find out more about the Return to Work programme.
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