The rise of the 'returnship' — tech companies' latest strategy to recruit more women

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The "returnship," internships for people who took time off mid-career, are gaining traction in the tech industry as companies work to improve gender diversity at the senior level, according to a report from The Washington Post.

The idea of the returnship — a phrase actually trademarked by Goldman Sachs — started in the finance industry as a way to help people, particularly women, reenter the workforce after several years off the job, according to the report.

Now that idea is spreading to the tech sector. Seven tech and engineering companies, such as IBM, Intel and General Motors, in partnership with the Society for Women Engineers, began offering internships this year targeted at women who want to reenter the workforce. An additional six tech companies in Silicon Valley, with the help of a nonprofit called Path Forward, plan to offer similar opportunities beginning in October, according to the report.

And while men can apply to many of the returnship opportunities, the tech industry is aiming them at women in particular, according to the report. The Washington Post cites data indicating more than half of women in science, engineering and tech leave those industries over time.

The returnships have been successful in developing new hires, according to the report. However, the small size of such programs means they are not likely to have a significant impact on workforce diversity in the immediate future, according to The Washington Post.

Read the full story here.


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