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Professional women who have chosen to opt out of the workforce to have children have long wished they could ease themselves back into professional ranks through part-time or short-term consultancy work.

It seems that employers in the financial services sector are finally coming to the party.

Ben Derwent, managing director of recruitment firm Derwent Executive, says banks and accountancy firms, in particular, are looking to bring in people on a short-term basis who can drive value without having to learn on the job.

This is particularly the case in specialized projects relating to compliance, regulatory and risk-related issues, the integration of businesses, IT-related issues in banking, and HR-related projects in financial services.

"We've always seen a willingness from the candidates, but this has often been resisted from the employer side of equation," Derwent says. "But the talent shortage is driving a step change."

Still, Lisa Lloyd, a consultant with Tanner Menzies, warns candidates not to be too demanding if they are seeking special conditions from prospective employers.

She cites the case of one client who was unable to secure the conditions she wanted, until she agreed to a short-term, full-time contract in a data governance role with a major bank, and proved her abilities.

"She wanted every other Friday off and reduced hours. The clients didn't want to go there. But now she has secured a full-time role with those conditions by proving she could deliver on time and on budget.

"That three-month contract is now nine months old. Every time the employer has come back to renegotiate, she has been able to introduce conditions. She now has the job she wants."

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