Returning to work after children - your options


laptop and notebookReturning to work after raising a family can be an opportunity to pursue a career that gives you flexibility whilst meeting your current priorities. You may look to re-train, start your own business or return to a more flexible role within your field.

Deciding which career to pursue

When you are unclear about what your options are, it is easy to find yourself aimlessly searching through recruitment sites. Start by evaluating your current priorities; take a step back and ask yourself some of the following questions:

  • What are my priorities? Identifying your career priorities is essential in order to become more focussed on your long term objectives. Think about what is important to you in a career, e.g. full time/part time, location, salary.
  • What skills do I enjoy the most? How do I want to use these skills?
  • What are my interests? Are there opportunities to pursue this into a career? Consider your interests outside of work that may influence your work place, e.g. Charity
  • What steps do I need to take to pursue this?
Researching roles and required qualifications

There are a number of ways you can conduct research and explore what qualifications and training may be required in alternative careers:

  • The National Careers Service website offers advice around what training you will need to do in order to begin a new career, the salary to expect and what the job role is likely to include.
  • Career Guidance books in your local library also highlight what types of training and experience are necessary to do a particular role.
  • Visit job boards to research jobs, have a look at job descriptions and the specifications that employers require for the types of roles you are interested in. is a great resource for parents returning to work.
  • Network - ask contacts, family, friends other parents. It is easy to forget that the people you meet with on a day to day basis may be really useful to talk to about your future aims and goals. Ask for advice and guidance - they may have worked in the environments that are of interest to you, or have their own network of contacts they can put you in touch with.

Networking is one of the most successful ways to find a job. As well as your current network, think about new people that you meet through the school or whilst doing activities with other parents. You may not usually speak about your professional life when meeting other parents as it’s easy to fall into just discussing parenting, but you will be surprised what information you could obtain just by opening discussions on the topic of work. Ask questions, find out a bit more about your new contacts - where do they or their partners work? Gather information and ideas to assist you in your own search.

Return to work schemes/Returnships

Some industries and sectors have a return to work programme. A returner programme offers the opportunity for employers to access a largely untapped pool of senior and high-calibre, experienced, and motivated individuals who have taken an extended career break and are keen to get back to their profession. The programmes offer returners a re-introduction to the workplace and addresses issues such as confidence as well as updating industry-specific knowledge.

Introduced by Goldman Sachs a number of organisations such as Natwest, O2, Deutsche Bank and Morgan Stanley were some of the 23 companies who offered returnships in the UK last year, and around 90 per cent of those on placements were women. To access the full list of organisations visit


Another popular option is exploring self-employment. Do you have a hobby or an interest that you could make money from? Would this enable you to work more flexibility whilst earning you a living wage? Think carefully about this option; if you do your hobby purely to escape or as something that gets you away from your day job, you may end up losing what you enjoy about it.

Is there a gap in the market that you could explore? Have you found yourself looking for a product or service that doesn’t exist? Do you have a talent that could be a business opportunity?  Establishing your own business may allow you to fit work around your family, maybe choosing to work in the early mornings or evenings instead of the usual nine to five. You may not need to commute or travel and have the option to control your workload and choose who you want to work for and what to take on. Remote working can keep their family a central part of their day to day lives whilst also managing to bring in an income using their skills or hobbies. You can read more of Renovo’s advice on self-employment here.

There are also many different ways to capitalise on hobbies such as baking or crafting. You can sell your homemade goods at local craft fairs and school fairs, eBay or Etsy. Your love for your hobby could turn into a passion for profits. With the success of online marketplaces such as eBay and Etsy, you can have an instant platform for selling your creative products. Get in touch with people who have already chosen this option, speak to people and ask for advice; they will be able to give you tips and tell you how they pursued their interests and re-trained.

Renovo is one of the UK’s leading providers of outplacement and career transition support. We work with both organisations and individuals to support all their career transition requirements. If you would like to understand how Renovo can help you please call 0800 612 2011 or email

Recently published
Goal Setting using the Grow Model

Whether you are changing careers, exploring self-employment or wanting to […]

Read More
Timing Outplacement Effectively

As the old saying goes; “Timing is everything” and that’s […]

Read More
How to use summer networking to maximise career opportunities

With the summer holidays approaching, it's commonly believed that the […]

Read More
2024 © All Rights Reserved | Renovo Employment Group Ltd.