According to recent statistics, the UK’s thriving digital industry is now worth £161bn to the economy and supports more than 1.5m jobs. However, the UK has been called into question as to whether it can fill the 750,000 new digital jobs that will be needed by 2020 to stay competitive in the global tech economy.

Throughout 2016 several technology companies decided to launch returnship programmes, to entice women in IT back into the industry, but there is still along way to go.

Companies such as Worldpay, Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, Morgan Stanley and Bank of America, to only name a few, are companies that have either launched new returnships or continue to strengthened previous programmes.

In addition 2016 WeAreTechnology saw returnships broadened both within and outside of financial services, for example FDM Group now offers an in-depth returnship programme for women in technology and beyond.

Women in technology returnships not only offer potential employees a route to ramp back on from a career break, but they also offer employers a low-risk opportunity to assess an employee’s suitability for a role. Returners can use their chosen programme to update skills, knowledge and experience in their previous role or they can utilise the opportunity to transition to a new area completely.

Returnship programmes are the prefect opportunity for the technology sector to close the IT skills gap and I hope that 2017 sees even more companies opening their doors to talented female returners.