September 2017

Going places with a second career

The Tata group's Second Careers Inspiring Possibilities (SCIP) programme has enabled over 1000 women to return to the corporate world post career breaks, since 2008. Amit Chincholikar, senior vice president, Group Human Resources, Tata Sons, talks about the pioneering initiative, its role in advancing the group’s D&I agenda.

SCIP has received a great response from women and become an industry benchmark for similar programmes. What are the factors for its success?
When introduced in 2008, SCIP was the first-of-its-kind programme that recognised and fulfilled the need of on-ramping women who had taken a break, back into the workforce. The programme had a lot of sponsors from group companies as it provided access to a pool of highly qualified, committed women professionals. On their part, group companies provided projects that allowed for a degree of flexibility for women who were coming back to the workforce after a break.

Applicants who enrol for the programme should be on a break and not employed on a full-time basis in any other organisation. That’s the only requirement. Over the last nine years, over 1000 women have joined us as part of SCIP and contributed to over 750 projects.

After SCIP, several other organisations have launched similar programmes.

SCIP has evolved over the years to make it more relevant. How is SCIP’s new avatar different from the earlier version?
Our learning over the years showed that women who had taken career breaks were looking forward to not just projects, but also work in full-time or consultant roles that provided flexibility in terms of working hours or number of days in the week. Policies in group companies have also evolved over a time to allow for greater flexibility in work schedules.

In keeping with the changing times as well as extensive feedback received from those who worked with us through SCIP, the programme now offers a range of second career options so that women can choose to return to work, choose to work part-time or shift gears and dive in to full-time employment.

SCIP offers women professionals opportunities listed under three job formats: projects, consultant roles, and full-time roles. Programme participants are mentored and supervised, and are allowed to set their own pace through flexible work timings planned in consultation with their project guides.

How has SCIP helped in advancing the group’s diversity and inclusion (D&I) agenda?
SCIP is integral to our D&I commitment as it allows our group companies to access nearly 20,000 qualified women professionals registered with the portal. It also helps in gathering practical, relevant and engaging insights to make our workplaces more sensitive, aligned and conducive for women to join, thrive and prosper. We believe the insights will help us work through the retention and progression of our 180,000 women colleagues in the group.

Know more about Tata group's Second Careers Inspiring Possibilities (SCIP) programme at