The issue of lost women workers remains a delicate one for many companies, particularly in highly skilled professions, such as consulting or banking. After spending their 20s in high-intensity jobs, many women leave or switch to part-time work when they have children.
Most companies simply acknowledge the departures and move on, but some of them are starting to recruit talented women who are ready to resume work. The other Big Three consulting firms have their own programs targeted at current and former female employees.
A 2009 study of female attorneys in New Jersey, conducted by Rutgers University's Center for Women and Work, found that 29% of the respondents said they left their previous firms because they had "difficulty integrating work with family/personal life."
And in a 2010 McKinsey report, female senior executives cited the "double burden syndrome" of balancing motherhood and work as the main obstacle to women attaining more top roles in companies.
To be sure, reactivating workers who have been off the job for years presents big challenges for both employers and the returning worker.