IT major Cognizant on Tuesday said it has started a programme that aims to offer a 12-week paid experience for technology professionals looking at restarting their careers after a break.
The Cognizant Returnship Programme, an India-first initiative, is a way to get diverse talent in the door, irrespective of when their last professional role was, according to the company.
Cognizant India Chairman and Managing Director Rajesh Nambiar said, “We are now extending our D&I (diversity and inclusion) philosophy beyond the workplace and into lives and careers, supporting those whose personal goals such as taking care of the family, raising a child or pursuing a life calling have resulted in a professional break.”
Cognizant has launched the Cognizant Returnship Programme, a unique 12-week paid experience for talented technology professionals looking to restart their careers after a break, he added.
Many such talented professionals looking to return to the workforce are women, and Cognizant’s inaugural cohort includes women taking on engineering management roles in the digital engineering practice, he said.
“For us, unlocking the potential of diversity of thought is not just about having people with different backgrounds and experiences on our team, but also about respecting and providing a fillip to each individual’s inherent potential through an environment that mentors talent without biases,” he said.
The programme is focused on providing returners with a supportive environment and access to training, upskilling, mentorship and other resources.
“These professionals will work with cutting-edge technology through the programme and will subsequently be considered for full-time positions at Cognizant,” Nambiar said.
Woman professionals form around 38 per cent of the overall workforce in India and nearly 45 per cent of the company’s workforce in tier-II cities. Cognizant has established female hiring and retention goals for company leaders, which are part of the formal annual performance ratings process.
With a sharpened focus on accelerating gender diversity globally in the leadership pipeline, Cognizant has also pledged to put 1,000 high performing women in leadership levels through Propel — its women’s global leadership development initiative — by the end of 2021.
Propel is focused on enabling women at the mid-management level to accelerate their careers through coaching and mentoring in partnership with external certified executive coaches.
“Inclusion and diversity are critical to having a more equitable workplace while developing more robust solutions for our clients, challenging the status quo, and fuelling innovation and productivity.
“Our aim is to be a leader in closing the gender diversity gap in the technology industry,” Nambiar said.