Off Ramps and On Ramps

Off Ramps and On RampsLegions of professional women step off the career fast track at least once to raise children, care for elderly parents, or manage other family demands. But when they're ready to step back on track - just a short time later - they hit a wall. On-ramps are few and far between, and the financial penalties for "time out" are punishing. Result? Many women are lost on re-entry, and companies miss the chance to leverage this talent pool.

With talent shortages looming over the next decade, companies must reverse this female brain drain if they hope to beat rivals. But how can companies attract and retain professional women?

Off-Ramps and On-Ramps answers this critical question by documenting the successful efforts of the Hidden Brain Drain Task Force - a group of 34 leading-edge global companies including General Electric, Johnson & Johnson, Lehman Brothers, and Time Warner. Spearheaded by Sylvia Ann Hewlett, over the last three years the Task Force has developed and driven 18 best-practice models for companies seeking to recruit, retain, and reattach talented women. In this book, you'll find strategies for:

Off-Ramps and-On Ramps is based on firsthand experience with gold-standard companies and is grounded in extensive new data that provides the most comprehensive and nuanced picture of women's career paths to date. A vital resource, this book smashes a "male competitive model" that has long insisted on smooth, cumulative lock-step careers as a prerequisite for success - to the detriment of ambitious women and talent-hungry companies everywhere.


Named one of the 10 best business books of 2007 by

"In her earlier books Sylvia Ann Hewlett has vividly chronicled the price women - and children - pay for trying to fit into a man's world. Now women are insisting that the world of work be refashioned - to fit the needs of women, men and our children alike. Off-Ramps and On-Ramps is a brilliant guide to the new world." – Rt. Hon. Patricia Hewitt, former Secretary of State for Health, former Secretary of State at the Department of Trade and Industry, United Kingdom

"Off-Ramps and On-Ramps provides a vital roadmap for how employers can more efficiently and thoughtfully utilize the female workforce - and build a better society as a result. If taken to heart, the book can prove more beneficial than GPS and Mapquest combined." – Alan B. Krueger, Bendheim Professor of Economics and Public Affairs, Princeton University

"Essential reading. For decades, pundits have been telling women how to 'fix' themselves to fit the work world. Sylvia Ann Hewlett has written the book that has long been needed: telling organizations how to 'fix' themselves." – Sheila W. Wellington, former president of Catalyst and Clinical Professor of Management and Organizations, Leonard N. Stern School of Business, New York University

"In an era of escalating competitive pressure, companies must be innovative and proactive in keeping an increasingly female workforce vibrant and productive. Some companies are getting it. Thanks to Hewlett for showcasing these companies and putting a spot light on corporate leaders who have the courage and the savvy to make the necessary changes for women not only to survive, but to bring themselves fully to the leadership table." – Ella L.J. Edmondson Bell, Associate Professor of Management, The Tuck School of Business, Dartmouth College

"Off-Ramps and On-Ramps provides a compelling model for rethinking career development for the 21st Century. Illustrated with vivid business case studies, this book is an essential guide for how to manage talent so that employees and employers can succeed." – Ellen Galinsky, President, Families and Work Institute

"Sylvia Hewlett's analysis of how women need to work, and how that impacts the current corporate model creates a blueprint for the workplace of tomorrow. Given the coming talent shortages, all companies need to build more on-ramps." – Richard Robinson, CEO, President and Chairman, Scholastic Inc.

"How can both women and men find satisfying and rewarding careers that are not necessarily continuous and cumulative? And how can companies and organizations keep talented employees in whom they have heavily invested? This carefully researched book provides innovative, practical, win-win answers to both questions." – Myra H. Strober, labor economist; professor, Graduate School of Business, Stanford University

"In Off-Ramps and On-Ramps, Hewlett details the new programmes that companies she has been working with are running. It is inspirational stuff... Off-Ramps and On-Ramps, ostensibly aimed at the people who run companies, probably ought to be required reading for everone who works in one." –  The Guardian (UK)