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InnerCircle 2022: Leveraging non-traditional talent sources—The Goldman Sachs Returnship® program

Employers 07.06.2022 3 MIN

Designed for talented professionals looking to restart their careers after an extended absence from the workforce, the Goldman Sachs Returnship® program is an innovative approach for uncovering high potential candidates in a competitive labor market.

In the diversity and recruiting space in particular, there’s a need to collaborate…We want our program to succeed and we want your program to succeed.” 

—Erika Coleman, Global Head of Diversity Recruiting and University Relations, Goldman Sachs


From June 8–10, HR leaders from across Corporate America gathered at the InnerCircle conference to discuss key strategies for maximizing potential at their companies. In a fireside chat, Goldman Sachs’ Global Head of Diversity Recruiting and University Relations Erika Coleman shared insights from the firm’s approach to leveraging non-traditional talent sources.

The Goldman Sachs Returnship® program welcomes back to the workforce individuals who have taken a break in their careers. These individuals are high-performing and talented people who have a variety of skill sets and levels of experience. By investing in them, Goldman Sachs helps restart their careers, maximize their potential as they step into new roles, and open a new avenue to bring diverse talent into the organization.

Over the course of the program’s 14 years, Erika and her team have been able to test new strategies and learn how best to support these under-served and under-utilized professionals. 


Key Takeaways

  • Before you jump in, do your research. For the Goldman Sachs Returnship® program, the HR team spends time learning about the population who have taken a career break and the challenges they were facing to facilitate a smooth reintegration to the workforce.
  • Leverage insights from experts and others who have implemented these programs. There’s a wealth of information and experience you can learn from to make your own program successful.
  • Start with your end goal. Your overall objectives should shape every aspect of your program. Being intentional about the program structure is key to achieving successful outcomes.
  • It’s important to identify role models and mentors throughout your leadership team who can become involved in the program.
  • Your program should help returnees maximize their potential as they come back into the workforce. This should include a diversity of experience to help them find the right fit for them. This may mean moving them to a different area of the company that they’re better-suited for. Be flexible!


If there are barriers to people [joining your company], it’s a really good time to be honest about them and break them down.” 

—Erika Coleman, Global Head of Diversity Recruiting and University Relations, Goldman Sachs


As the competition to attract and retain top talent becomes increasingly difficult, many companies are turning to non-traditional talent sources. Is your company keeping up?

For more InnerCircle insights on talent strategies, visit our InnerCircle website. Want to hear more about this topic? Contact us