After a long career in financial services working for some of the leaders in the industry, Clare Piper struggled to return after a career break because she wanted to try something different and found that she was being ‘pigeon-holed’. Background During her career pre-break, Clare had worked in several positions around the globe covering areas such as custody and client management, product/network management and transition management sales before taking a two-year career break. The Return Hub Clare was recommended The Return Hub through a friend and after a long initial conversation with founder, Dominie, a couple of roles that suited Clare’s CV and desired career direction were put forward as suggestions. One of those roles was as a director in Markets Onboarding at HSBC. Clare successfully went through several rounds of interviews before being offered the role, starting in the January after interviewing the previous September. Eighteen months later, Clare was promoted to her current role of European Regional Head for Client Management ICG Onboarding, a position which sees her working with top tier clients such as large institutional clients, asset managers and central banks. Clare felt greatly supported by Dominie and The Return Hub during the recruitment process saying: “When speaking to Dominie, it felt as though someone was listening and understood where I was coming from. I felt supported and I no longer felt alone and the only one in this situation. They understood that I wanted to promote myself and not be product or role specific in my job search. The Return Hub helped me identify the qualities I wanted to drive.” Lessons learned
- Feeling too grateful – career returners and especially women can end up feeling grateful for a role even if it is not suitable for them, especially after their confidence has been knocked a few times. When Clare was recruited by HSBC, she didn’t feel like she was just ‘making do’ – she knew that she really wanted that role. She recognised that she’d worked really hard and deserved it.
- Sustain your network – we hear about the importance of returners’ networks time and time again. Clare admits that whilst on her career break, she lost touch with many within her network which made it difficult when she called on them for assistance when she wanted to go back to work. If she had her time again, Clare acknowledges that she would have worked on the relationships in her network during her career break so that she could leverage them more when looking to return.
- Consider coaching – Clare recommends that anyone in a new senior role, balancing personal commitments and re-establishing a career investigate support from an independent career coach. Third party advice can be really helpful in gaining perspective with any challenges that arise.
Clare is quick to encourage more returners considering resuming their careers to do so, advising that aside from technology and new regulations, the finance industry hasn’t and doesn’t change that much. In her role at HSBC, Clare has continued to support returners hiring two colleagues from The Return Hub, both of whom she describes as “brilliant”.