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Lookbook

Creative

Returnships Help Agencies Bring Women Back to Work

Published on .

Advertising agencies are trying a new tactic to help women re-enter the workforce after taking time off to raise a family. It's a program that's been dubbed 'returnships.'

The concept can represent a win-win: Women get more current experience in rejoining industry, and employers get experienced executives they couldn't otherwise afford. The paid program usually lasts three or four months, and it fills a need as ad agencies look to include more women and people of color on their teams.

In the ad world specifically, it's one possible solution to one of the industry's vexing problems—lack of diversity—as marketers and agencies grapple with how to make their workforces less homogeneous and more authentic representations of modern consumers.

Much of the demand can be attributed to marketers pressuring their agency partners for more equal representation between women, minorities and white men. Last year, for example, General Mills, Verizon and HP demanded that their agencies meet diversity requirements—or face loss of business. More brands are expected to follow their lead in the coming months.

New recruiting companies like Talent Reconnect and Path Forward, a nonprofit founded a year ago that helps midcareer women find jobs across a variety of industries, are taking a page from similar staffing programs at banks such as Goldman Sachs, which began offering returnships in finance nearly a decade ago.

If you are looking for a creative agency with a diverse staff that can help your brand reconnect with your consumers, turn to LookBook.

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