Allison Cheston, Career Connector


Career Connector Blog

Get to Work


Lately I’ve been attending plenty of conferences, but not blogging as I should. Since I last wrote there was the IACPR conference where one of the panel discussions included a VP of HR for a major investment bank claiming that they couldn’t find enough women interested in their re-entry program. Turns out the program welcomes women of all financial services stripes — not only alumnae of that particular firm. Well, this is interesting. Name brand banks and consulting firms, among others, are welcoming back women to work on a project basis or on flexible schedules. The reason? We’re in a Talent Shortage.

Another speaker at the conference, Tammy Erickson, wrote a book called “Workforce Crisis: How to Beat the Coming Shortage of Skills and Talent” based on several years of research. She claims that companies still operate as they did in the 50’s and show few signs of changing. But a few are paving the way out of need–the driver that will enable women to join up on new terms.

Linda Hirshman wrote her manifesto “Get to Work” on the premise that women do all women a disservice when they opt out of work, not to mention the impact on themselves. She speaks forcefully of the lack of power women have in their marriage when they stop bringing in income. It’s hard to argue with her. The trends surrounding the War for Talent will force companies to look to disenfranchised groups, such as formerly professional women, to provide some of the brainpower those companies lack. This is excellent news for those women everywhere who, as their kids get older, want to get back into the workforce.

Each time I discuss my work with women seeking flexible schedules or a way back in, I get a very strong reaction. It would be a win-win if more companies would hire those women to meet their needs. There’s plenty of work to be done between an identified need, the search and camera-ready candidates, but it is happening. Both sides are becoming more motivated. If these conference topics are any indication, and they are all about the War for Talent, change is afoot.