At Audible, when we talk about building a talent pipeline, we always include caregiving in the conversation. Studies show that it’s harder for people to re-enter the workforce and to reach their full earning potential when they take a break to raise children or to care for family members. And the ratio of women taking time off for caregiving versus men is twelve to one.
This is why we’re piloting our “Next Chapter” Returnship Program for mid-career professionals—to ensure we’re continuing to develop an inclusive workforce that taps into the best talent available. Targeting candidates with a minimum of five years of work experience who have taken a year or more off for caregiving, the program offers paid full-time internships over a 16-20 week period. Upon successful completion of the returnship, there is a possibility of an offer for full-time employment.
Toolkits, trainings, workshops and mentoring are an integral part of the program to provide support for the returnees and help guarantee their success. These elements are being developed and executed in collaboration with Path Forward, a nonprofit that assists companies in building successful returnship programs. The fall pilot will focus on tech, product management and UX roles with an eye toward expanding the program to other departments next year. To find current returnship job openings, visit our Careers site.
“This is a super exciting initiative and one that is close to my heart,” says Anne Erni, Audible’s Chief People Officer. “In 2005, I launched one of the first programs of this kind at Lehman Brothers, Encore, that was then syndicated to all the investment banks and I look forward to seeing the same kind of replicable success with the returnship program here.”
“I’m thrilled Audible is pursuing this program,” says Tim Martin, Audible’s Chief Technology Officer. “By offering caregivers the ability to onramp back into the workforce, we are recruiting and developing highly motivated talent while also continuing our commitment to creating an inclusive team.”
Supporting working parents is an integral part of Audible’s culture. Along with flexible work options, our benefits for full-time employees include fully paid maternity and paternity leave and a program that helps employees transition back to a full-time schedule following their leave. Recently, we added additional time off for all employees, in part to assist parents working from home.
“The idea of a returnship program is a game changer for families who are trying to balance caring for children with growing a career,” says Jenn Lee, Senior Director, Software Development at Audible. “When I had my daughter, I was the sole engineer building a product for a startup and didn’t have the opportunity to take time off and feared that if I did, I would struggle to get back into the industry. Programs like this are so innovative in that they help people put their families first!”