Welcoming women back to work, the PayPal and BAML way

1 Jul 2016

There are many ways to go about addressing the shortage of women in STEM, one of which is encouraging those who left to have a family back into the fold.

Both PayPal and Bank of America Merril Lynch (BAML) have released new back-to-work programmes for returning staff in a bid to help women gain employment in each company.

Calling the programmes ‘Recharge’ (Paypal) and ‘Returning Talent’ (BAML), each has been created with a slightly different concept, but similar ethos.

The difficulty in finding staff in the tech world, as well as the reality that the work force is severely limited in terms of diversity, has forced each company’s hand, with PayPal’s project coming from a particularly interesting angle.

Return to work: Recharge

A Chicago and San Jose pilot programme, Recharge is structured to support skilled female staff who, through taking a break for whatever reason, have seen technologies move on in their absence.

Consider things like coding, which are continually evolving, and the idea that a year out of work could leave you behind is not too difficult to imagine.

So, a 20-week programme, which takes on a collection of returning workers, tries to gradually train them back up, while giving each participant genuine responsibility.

“By the programme’s end, the goal is to extend full-time offers to all of the participants,” said the company. “And increasing the number of women in PayPal’s development teams serves our mission of driving diversity and inclusion.”

The first batch of workers has already begun its journey, with future plans probably dependent on the success of this current project.

Return to work: Conference

At BAML’s UK operations, the Returning Talent programme in Chester follows in the footsteps of a similar London project recently.

A two-day conference, the programme will get 25 returning workers into a room to listen to talks and advice, while getting hands on with workshops to help get them back up to speed.

“We know there is enormous untapped talent in the returner population, and we think this matches very well with the expanding opportunities here,” said Steve Miller, head of the Chester site.

Just like the PayPal pilot, BAML’s programme is open to returning workers from companies beyond its own. Unlike the PayPal pilot, though, this UK programme is open for applicants at the moment.

These are interesting ideas and hold enough logic to become mainstream throughout the technology industry.

And any attempt to fix the gender gap seems welcome.

Main image of woman heading to work, via Shutterstock

Gordon Hunt
By Gordon Hunt

Gordon Hunt joined Silicon Republic in October 2014 as a journalist. He spends most of his time avoiding conversations about music, appreciating even the least creative pun and rueing the day he panicked when meeting Paul McGrath. His favourite thing on the internet is the ‘Random Article’ link on Wikipedia.

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