BUSINESS
01/24/2016 04:05 pm ET

Goldman Sachs' Plan To Get More Older Women Back To Work

The odds are stacked against women over 50 who want to return to work. This program tries to help them.

About 43 percent of women with children leave their jobs. If they choose to return to work later in life, they face dismal jobs prospects in a market that appears to be stacked against women over 50.  

For the last eight years, Goldman Sachs has been trying to help change that, according to Dina Powell, the bank's head of corporate engagement. To do so, the company started a "returnship" program in 2008 to help bring more women into the cutthroat, male-dominated finance industry.

"It's a later-in-life internship, if you will, for women who have had really successful careers but were out of the workforce for a period of time," Powell told The Huffington Post's Caroline Modarressy-Tehrani at the annual World Economic Forum meeting in Davos, Switzerland. "This allows them to come back, really get to learn the new technology and new markets issues, and really get a confidence that can sometimes be lost when you've been out of the workforce for a period of time." 

The paid, 10-week program, which available at the company's offices in New York and Bangalore, is a privilege for an elite few. So far, 150 people have participated. But it has yielded success as a recruiting program for Goldman. Almost half of those in the program have returned to work at the company full time, a spokeswoman told HuffPost by email. 

As The New York Times reported earlier this month: 

A new study on long-term unemployment from the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis found that the prospects for women over 50 darkened after the Great Recession. In 2006-7, before the downturn hit, less than a quarter of the unemployed in this group had been out of work for more than six months. By 2012-13, older jobless women accounted for half of the long-term unemployed.

The employment picture has definitely improved since then, economists point out, and more older women have managed to return to work. Still, the waves from the recession, which ended six and a half years ago, continue to upend many people who were cast aside during and immediately after the storm. 

Programs modeled on "returnships" -- a term trademarked by Goldman, by the way -- could help other companies tap a top pool of talent that many companies have ignored.

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