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21 June 2024
The journey back: A career returners story

ShivaniShivani Agarwal, Business Analyst, M&G (5-year break)

Prior to my career break I spent much of my career working in insurance.. I was fortunate to do a lot of different roles within the business taking secondments and moving around teams. My career break, despite coming unexpectedly after 13 years, created an opportunity for me to step back. It seemed like the right time and the right place in my life to be doing that, so I took it.
My career break was for 5 years, longer than I anticipated, but I was mostly concentrating on home life with the children and helping them to transition from primary to secondary school. We were looking for a house to buy, I travelled a lot, and I tried a few business ideas, but then quickly realised I'm more attuned to working in structured environments which is one of the reasons I decided to come back.

A friend mentioned there was lots of support available for returners and the UK Government provides retraining programmes, so I signed up for a certification with Microsoft. I didn’t have an extensive network I could reach out to. I learned returners are actively being sought through returner programmes which gave me a huge confidence boost. That helped me push back some of the self-doubt and after some time I applied for the M&G role which had a lot of synergies with my experience so seemed like a good fit.

M&G treated me like the experienced professional I am and I'm so grateful for that. There was no hesitation around throwing me in the thick of things and my line manager has been brilliant. He’s been very good at giving feedback, noticing what I’m doing well, like a well worded email, or good thinking on a problem or task.

I think the other part which a lot of people worry about is working with younger people or being quite senior in age and not matching the career progression of their colleagues. What I’ve found is that the environment is quite mixed, and I didn't feel like I was like a dinosaur coming back! I'm here to learn and gain experience and the culture here at M&G enables that.

The peer support from the programme has been really helpful along with support from colleagues, who have been good at identifying where my expertise lies and pointing me in the right direction to learn from experts around the business.

Overall, I'm excited to be back at work, I look forward to coming into the office, feel well supported, and it’s great to be leading on projects taking the reins back. That is testament to my increasing confidence, and colleague confidence in me.

My main piece of advice for other returners is don't label yourself based on what you did before. Initially with M&G I thought, I know nothing about that industry, why would they take me? But I changed my focus, I had such renewed excitement and vigour, raring to go. This is what makes us returners amazing candidates.

Think from a position of strength, you're coming back with not just your work experience, but life experience and anyone would be lucky to have you!

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M&G plc is a company incorporated and with its principal place of business in England, and its affiliated companies constitute a leading savings and investments business. M&G plc is the direct parent company of The Prudential Assurance Company Limited. The Prudential Assurance Company Limited is not affiliated in any manner with Prudential Financial, Inc, a company whose principal place of business is in the United States of America or Prudential plc, an international group incorporated in England and Wales.

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M&G plc, incorporated and registered in England and Wales. Registered office: 10 Fenchurch Avenue, London EC3M 5AG. Registered number 11444019. M&G plc is a holding company, some of whose subsidiaries are authorised and regulated, as applicable, by the Prudential Regulation Authority and the Financial Conduct Authority.

M&G plc is a company incorporated and with its principal place of business in England, and its affiliated companies constitute a leading savings and investments business. M&G plc is the direct parent company of The Prudential Assurance Company Limited. The Prudential Assurance Company Limited is not affiliated in any manner with Prudential Financial, Inc, a company whose principal place of business is in the United States of America or Prudential plc, an international group incorporated in England and Wales.

M&G plc は、イングランド及びウェールズで設立・登録。本社登録地は10 Fenchurch Avenue, London EC3M 5AG。登録番号11444019。M&G plcは持ち株会社で、その子会社の一部はPRA(健全性監督機構)及びFCA(金融行為規制機構) に認可され、それらの規制対象となっています。

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Prudential plc

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M&G plc, incorporated and registered in England and Wales. Registered office: 10 Fenchurch Avenue, London EC3M 5AG. Registered number 11444019. M&G plc is a holding company, some of whose subsidiaries are authorised and regulated, as applicable, by the Prudential Regulation Authority and the Financial Conduct Authority.

M&G plc is a company incorporated and with its principal place of business in England, and its affiliated companies constitute a leading savings and investments business. M&G plc is the direct parent company of The Prudential Assurance Company Limited. The Prudential Assurance Company Limited is not affiliated in any manner with Prudential Financial, Inc, a company whose principal place of business is in the United States of America or Prudential plc, an international group incorporated in England and Wales.