LinkedIn has launched a new ‘Career Breaks’ feature to normalize taking career breaks and help women re-enter the workforce. This feature, claims LinkedIn will de-stigmatise resume gaps as part of our professional journeys.
The new feature will allow members to add a career break to their LinkedIn Profile and stand out for the life experiences they have built during their time away, and demonstrate how they can apply these learnings to roles they are interested in.
Members will be able to choose from 13 different Title options under Career Break such as Full-Time Parenting, Health and Well-being, Caregiving, Layoff, Career Transition, Professional Development, and more.
Working Women Penalised for Flexible Work
Due to strong employer bias, India’s working women are paying heavy penalties to work flexibly. 9 in 10 working women had to take a pay cut to work flexibly, 2 in 5 (37 per cent) had their flexible working request denied, and 1 in 4 (27 per cent) struggled to convince their bosses to accept their request. This has made women reluctant towards asking for greater flexibility because they fear exclusion, being held back from promotions, working overtime, taking pay cuts, and being treated unfavorably by their superiors.
Given the impending guilt and stigma around flexible policies, 1 in every 3 working women in India shies away from telling their clients (34%), colleagues (35 per cent), and friends (33 per cent) that they work flexibly.
Career break had set women back
As working women continue to juggle between personal commitments and career progress within rigid schedules, 4 in every 5 (78 per cent) working women in India are taking career breaks to improve their well-being, plan career changes, and boost their confidence at work.
With 9 in 10 working women using their time off to learn new hard and soft skills, career breaks are helping women to upskill and boost their employability in today’s tight job market.
But despite these benefits of sabbaticals, about 4 in every 5 (77 per cent) working women in India who took a break say that it had actually set them back in their careers.
This is due to the prevalent stigma associated with career breaks among recruiters and employers, which has made it difficult for every second (50 per cent) working woman in India to explain their career break to recruiters. As a result, many choose to exclude career breaks from their CVs (42 per cent) or lie about their breaks to potential recruiters when being interviewed (35 per cent).
Forced to tiptoe about their career breaks, 80 per cent of India’s working women wish for ways that would help them represent their career breaks more positively to hiring managers.
“Flexible working is the No. 1 priority today for all professionals, especially for working women. In fact, our research finds that India is on the brink of a ‘flexidus’ with 7 out of 10 working women quitting or considering quitting their jobs due to lack of flexibility. This is a warning sign for companies and recruiters to remove the stigma surrounding the need for flexibility and career breaks, and introduce stronger flexibility policies if they don’t want to lose top talent,” says Ruchee Anand, Senior Director, India Talent & Learning Solutions, LinkedIn.