The UK arm of the Vodafone Group is one of the 26 countries launching Vodafone ReConnect, aiming to increase the number of women in management roles, with a target of 500 new hires across the 26 countries in the next three years, working out at around six hires per year, per country.
The programme is based on research they commissioned KPMG to carry out, which discovered that 55 million women with middle manager and above experience world-wide between 30-54 are on career breaks. Of 500 surveyed, 80% said more support was needed to help them return to work following a career break, with flexible working being the preferred option at 61%, shortly followed by part time hours at 51%.
Through changes to recruitment process including outreach activities, training and induction skill ‘refresh’ focuses, tackling unconscious bias and changes to employment terms.
One senior manager who was hired through the Turkish pilot scheme, Burcu Erdur stated, ‘I felt like my career break wiped clean all of my previous career achievements; it was as if I had never worked. It is very hard being a working mum but it is manageable with the right support. ReConnect gave me this.’
Vodafone Group CEO Vittorio Colao said, ‘We are committed to ensuring that our employees are drawn from diverse communities and societies. Our ambition to be one of the best employers for women in the world is central to that commitment. Companies often struggle to recruit and retain women in management and leadership roles. Innovations such as our global maternity policy and now our new ReConnect programme can make a real difference to women who work for us today and who will work for us in the future.’
Despite the progress the scheme would make towards gender equality at a senior level, Vodafone Group like nearly every other company of its size, is a long way from gender parity. Currently under 15% of Vodafone Group’s executive committee are women. Out of their latest 40 senior management hires listed on Linkedin, only five were women.