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Returning to work: Rachel Harris

Case Study: Rachel Harris, Client Portfolio Manager, Janus Henderson Investors


What was the reason for your career break, and how long was your break?

I decided not to return to work after my second child. My then employer was not interested in discussing part-time work and so I left the industry for 8 years.

Returning from a career break, what was important to you when considering a new role / company?

To be honest, I didn’t think that much about what was important to me. I just wanted a job. Although through my returnship I had worked out that a cultural fit was as important as financial gain.

How did you search for a new role, and how would you describe this experience?

Initially via websites like efinancialnews with little success. Employers are not usually minded to consider a candidate with a slightly different profile unless you can actually meet them or talk to them. Networking and luck are much more important. Plus valuable insight gained during a returnship with Goldmans in Singapore.

What attracted you to the investment management industry?

Less the firm more the industry and the role. It was not a role I had heard of previously sitting on the sell side The client proximity while still being in touch with the markets, both of which played on skills I had built up in my previous roles, appealed.

How would you describe the support you received when you returned?

Minimal. Occasional updates with HR business partner who is excellent. I think I was left alone because I was a) performing and b) my firm doesn’t have a history of employing returnees.

Has your career developed since?

I have been very vocal (more so than I would have been in a past life) about wanting to see my role progress. I feel like I need to be on a fast track for career progression having missed out on 8 years. My role did not exist prior to me doing it so I suppose to a certain extent my career has developed as my role has developed but I would like to see a more planned career progression.

What advice would you give to individuals considering returning to work?

Network network network. And if you are returning to work after having children, don’t skimp on childcare costs. It’s expensive. But your children are your most precious assets. And you need to be fully at work when at work and not worrying about if the children are being picked up on time or not.

Any other thoughts?

Coming back to work has been the best thing that I have done (apart from having three children). I love the sense of liberty and being my own person rather than just someone’s mum and the distance away from my family as well as using my brain again.

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