FlexCareers was delighted to support Deloitte with their recent Return to Work program. The program provides a supported journey back into the workforce after an extended period of absence, and into a new career in management consulting.
For many, it is the stuff dreams are made of, and we’ll admit that one of the most common questions FlexCareers was asked during the recruitment process was “what’s the catch?”
Well, other than a pretty competitive hiring process, there wasn’t one. Deloitte offered 15 returners a 20-week internship, working across multiple business areas within Deloitte’s consulting business, with the opportunity to learn from some of the best in the business.
For Deloitte, the program created an opportunity to identify and attract talent from a pool of people that may otherwise have never considered a career in management consulting, or perhaps returning to work at all. Donna McLeod, Senior Manager – Talent, explains;
Deloitte is genuinely excited to give talented people the chance to reinvent their careers in a supportive and flexible environment. We’re excited to watch our returners grow and develop, and hope that the program provides them with the skills and experience to launch a new phase of their lives.”
Australia has a huge pool of under utilised talent, the majority of them women whose caring responsibilities have limited their opportunity to progress a career. FlexCareers Founder, and father of three girls, Joel McInnes is excited about the future that programs such as this are creating, he says;
Deloitte is sending a clear message that times have changed and that employers are much more flexible. Deloitte reached out to our community and encouraged people to give the world of work another chance. We are incredibly proud to be a part of this program, and we hope that by showing how successful it has been, we will encourage other employers to follow suit.
As we enter Week 6 of the program, FlexCareers touched base with the members of our community that were successful in achieving a place on the coveted program and found out a bit more about what Returning to Work with Deloitte has meant to them.
Patrick Flanagan is not your average return to worker, and is a terrific example of how careers can be re-imagined at any stage.
After many years operating at a senior level in big corporates and Federal Government, Patrick had been wistfully considering how the world of work has changed.
“People are not joining employers for 10-15 years anymore, it is now typical to have as many as 7 careers in your lifetime, with portfolio careers and start-up ventures adding to the vibrancy of today’s modern career” he explains, “I started to think ‘why can’t that be me?’.
Patrick looked at the extensive hours he worked, and the levels of stress he had been operating under for much of his career, and decided it was time to make a change. He turned down an opportunity to relocate to Canberra with his department and instead took voluntary redundancy.
“It was time to jump out of my comfort zone and take a risk to improve my lifestyle, and achieve the work-life balance that I was so envious of others for having”.
Here, Patrick shares some early thoughts about his experience so far.
Tell us a little about why you applied.
I was taking time out and volunteering at a Not For Profit when I saw the Return to Work program advertised on the FlexCareers website. It was exactly what I was looking for, but to be honest, I felt a bit of an imposter for applying and I wasn’t confident at all. I thought perhaps they were only considering women, or that maybe I wouldn’t be what they were looking for. There was clearly some stiff competition too – so I was really surprised and humbled to be selected.
Has the program been everything that you’ve hoped for?
Absolutely. So far it has been a terrific experience. At the moment, I’m working alongside a group of graduates, which I have thoroughly enjoyed. They bring a level of enthusiasm and up to date knowledge and theory that I think complements my commercial experience, and it is working really well. I came in knowing very little about management consulting, and we have shared skills and transferred knowledge, and learned together.
Can you tell us about some of your most valued learning experiences?
For me, it’s been really valuable to be on the other side of the table. I’m working with clients to identify opportunities and present proposals, and I’m learning new methods and ways of working that will be invaluable to me, no matter what the future holds.
What area of the business have you been working in?
At the moment I am working in business development, so the front end of projects, helping to manage proposals and take them through to implementation. I have a proposal out with a client at the moment, which is pretty exciting – we are hoping it will be successful.
It’s been good for me, whilst I’ve not done this type of a role before, it does draw upon my previous experiences and I feel that I have something to offer in our project meetings – a different perspective. I definitely feel that this could be the start of a new career for me.
Tell us a bit about the team, and life at Deloitte.
What instantly strikes you is that people here are so friendly. You can approach anyone for help. There’s no hierarchy so asking questions and seeking advice is very easy. I came into the company with very little understanding about what working for a consulting firm would actually be like – I’ve found this role much more fluid in nature than any I have had before, and each day is different. It’s definitely an adjustment having come from a very structured environment, but I am enjoying it!
How flexible is the role?
Flexibility in the role has been on the table since the start of this process, and it has been constantly reinforced. Deloitte is all about being agile and so flexibility comes as standard. During our induction week everyone we spoke to talked about the flexible approach, and made it clear that they enjoyed a good work-life balance, that we would too.
I needed to take leave during the program and that wasn’t an issue either. When I asked, prior to being made a job offer, I was told that ‘if we can’t be flexible enough to allow you you to take a planned holiday, then we are not meeting our vision”.
I do think the onus is on you to make sure you create that flexibility too though, you need to have discipline in your work and be productive and efficient. It’s got to be a fair trade-off.
What are your hopes for the future?
I definitely see a longer term opportunity for me here, but I have to keep checking myself too – I just want to enjoy the experience and take each day as it comes.
We’ll be sharing more stories from our successful Returners in the coming weeks.
FlexCareers will also be supporting Deloitte with their next Return to Work program – to make sure you are notified when the program goes live, please create your job seeker profile with FlexCareers here.
Patrick Flanagan is a digitally savvy and customer focussed executive leader with extensive experience developing and leading strategic initiatives – leading large multi-disciplined teams through transformational change. He has worked in both private and public sector organisations, driving business innovation, business led technology implementations and organisational re-engineering.
Patrick’s open-minded approach and commitment to his ongoing personal and professional development were just two areas that stood out to the team at Deloitte.
More about Return to Work