Achieving Real Returns™ with Credit Suisse
Experienced professionals can find the process of returning to the workforce after an extended career break to be quite tough. You may feel like all you need is the chance to update your industry knowledge and showcase your skills to the right employer. Enter Credit Suisse's Real Returns™ program.
"I had been looking for a job for about one year, but had trouble finding one due to a three-year gap on my CV. I got to the final round of interviews and then nothing," recounts Sneha, who had chosen to take care of her family for those three years. She became increasingly frustrated. "My skills were perhaps rusty, but definitely not obsolete. At one point, I wrote the following in bold letters on a job portal: "I've been on a break for three years. I'm willing to join a bank,'" Sneha recounts. Surprisingly, the very next day she received a call inviting her to apply for Credit Suisse's Real Returns™ program. Sneha seized the opportunity and was selected for the program, joining Credit Suisse in the Financial Crime Compliance (FCC) team, the "bank's FBI" as she proudly refers to it, in Pune, India. Today she is a permanent employee working in the risk division.
Tailored In-House Training
It's not uncommon for banking professionals to take a break from full-time work to raise children, look after elderly parents, pursue degrees, or start their own business, only to find that the road back to full-time employment can be a difficult one. A great majority of these talented individuals are women. This pattern is seen around the world, notably in India, which has one of the world's lowest female labor force participation rates. Less than a third of India's women are employed, a mere 27 percent, while the corresponding figure for men reaches 80 percent, according to 2014 figures from the International Labor Organization (ILO). Launched in 2014, Credit Suisse's Real Returns™ program strives to reach out to people who have taken a longer voluntary leave and now wish to return to the workforce. The program offers participants the opportunity to work on important projects and to receive extensive training designed to refresh their core business skills, develop their industry knowledge, and strengthen their professional and personal competencies. "At home, you are in a silo and not only lose touch with the business world, but you also lose confidence," explains Deepa, another Credit Suisse Real Returner. "Enrolling in the Real Returns™ program gives you an idea of how things will turn out when you are back in the workforce," Deepa adds.
A Paid Re-Employment Program
The Real Returns™ program is a paid re-employment program that runs between 10 to 16 weeks, depending on the region in which the program is running. "It is not just about hiring women. Real Returns™ is a well-structured and well-designed program, enabling a smooth landing for talented women coming back to full-time work," underlines Gitanjali, a member of Credit Suisse's HR Service Center, and a volunteer on the Real Returns™ program. The program is filled with refreshers in technology and communication, as well as workshops focusing on enhancing presentation and networking skills. The program also includes a series of leadership presentations and numerous opportunities to develop new relationships and expand the participants' professional networks.
Each participant in the Real Returns™ program is assigned a mentor who provides advice throughout the program to ensure participants have a successful experience. "During the RR program we were assigned mentors with whom we interacted day in and day out. The mentors guided us in managing the challenges and shortcomings and helped us work towards the objectives in line with our skills. This mentor-mentee relationship helped us in assimilating ourselves back in the workforce rather smoothly," comments Sneha. The contact to other women in a similar situation, juggling work and family responsibilities after an extended leave, is another facet of the program highly appreciated by the women interviewed.
Permanent Jobs on Offer
To ensure that participants are fully up to speed with the rapidly evolving financial environment, the Real Returns™ Program covers business-related and regulatory changes in the financial services. "The program gives you ample time to settle in and understand the business." It also gives Credit Suisse ample time to evaluate all participants," says Roop. In India, more than two thirds of participants were offered full-time jobs matching their professional experience once the program was completed.
Building Sustainable Returns
"This program is about more than just finding a job after a career break, it changes the way people think about women returning to work after a hiatus. We are part of a small but significant social change, let's be proud of this and celebrate it!" concludes Preeti. "There is not a better platform to relaunch your career, so go for it," echoes Roop. As of October 2016, nearly 180 people had participated in the Real Returns™ program. It is offered in each of Credit Suisse's four regions – the Americas, Asia-Pacific (APAC), Europe, Africa and Middle East (EMEA), and Switzerland – with the upcoming sessions scheduled for February March 2017 in New York, March-June in Zurich, April-July in London, and March-July in India. Applications for these sessions are closed, however, applications for future sessions will open soon.
Please visit our website for more information. Note that even though the program is primarily geared towards women, men are welcome to join.