Why did Goldman Sachs start the Returnship program ?
'At Goldman Sachs we had observed a large number of individuals seeking to re-start their careers after extended voluntary absence from the workplace. We knew doing so would be difficult for a variety of reasons. In 2005, we sponsored the research entitled Off-ramps and On-ramps which focused on challenges and concerns faced by individuals looking to re-enter the workforce. We knew that it was a highly skilled population we were not tapping and one that we should be.
'The program was created on the back of a one day conference we held in 2006 called New Directions. The conference aimed to provide off-ramped people with guidance and coaching on how to make a successful transition back into the workforce. We knew that we could not just rehire people who have left the workforce for some time without providing skills building training and integration support'.
Who are the candidates for the program ?
Individuals that took a career break of more than 2 years.
What do participants get out of the program ?
The Returnees join for 10 weeks and are placed within a business that suits their skills. Weekly, we run training sessions for skills building and integration support. Returnees are given formal mentors to help them through the 10 week program. The main thing participants get out of the program is confidence and skill building. They also build their professional network and refresh key workplace skills to aid their integration success.
How successful has the program been and what is its future ?
The Returnship program has been quite successful with great rates of conversion for Goldman Sachs but also has equipped participants with skills to re-enter the workplace in other organizations as well. We will continue to run these programs yearly in the US and have expanded to other locations in the Goldman Sachs footprint. We have also leveraged the structure to create a new program targeted at veterans called the Veterans Intership Program (VIP).
From Elyse Goodman, Returnship program participant and current Vice President in Operations at Goldman Sachs
Why did you join the Returnship program ?
'I left the workforce to spend time with my family as I was not happy in the last wealth management position I was in and needed time to reflect on what the best path was going to be. After a couple years at home, my boys, now 12 and 15, were in school full time, and I decided that I really wanted to go back to work. I knew I didn’t want to go back into wealth management, but wanted to stay connected to the financial world as I had 18½ years of experience to capitalize on.
'With the perspective of having left the workforce, my main goals were to find a place where I could add value to a great team, leverage my skills, and be a part of a culture I was confident in. The Goldman Sachs Returnship program afforded me the opportunity to do just that!'
What were some of the best takeaways from the program and what did you learn ?
'One of the best takeaways from the Returnship Program is the network I have built. As my class of Returnees were re-acclimating to the working world, we shared a number of similar challenges about work-life integration and were able to offer each other support and camaraderie.
'We were also able to mentor more junior people about the work-life integration and offer our “life skills” where they were able to help us with some of the newer technologies. I also learned that I can do whatever I put my mind to. You find that you can challenge yourself in different ways and achieve new goals'.
What are you doing now and how did you get here from the program ?
'I did my Returnship in the Operations Division and was offered a full time role in that division after completing the program. Currently, I am a Vice President on the Operations Client Experience team, which designs and implements training, tools and methodologies to help the Operations division provide a consistent and enhanced client experience'.
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