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Overcoming Career Gap: A Guide for Women Returning Back to Work

Almost in every country around the globe, it has been an unsaid norm that women have to sacrifice their careers permanently to fulfil their family commitments, primarily as wives or mothers. 

There are also many cases where women decide to take temporary leave at a certain point in their lives. However, oftentimes it turns out to be more complicated than it seems to rejuvenate their careers after a gap of more than three years. 

This article will briefly discuss the major issues women face with the employment gap due to marriage, kids or family pressures and what are some appropriate jobs for gap in career

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What is the problem?

Often, the lack of work-life balance and various other family issues result in women leaving their careers. This issue is not limited to any specific race, culture or geographical location but is present almost everywhere. 

The abundance of such incidents further creates a notion that women in the workplace are incapable of managing higher positions. Their prospects are not taken seriously as authorities sometimes believe women can not be as career-driven and focused as men. This becomes a roadblock in the way of getting that much-deserved promotion for many females. 

Women having an employment gap due to marriage and kids are the top reasons. Not having support from the family or even the significant other can be highly damaging to a person’s confidence. The situation is even worse in the case of a new mother. If they wish to continue their jobs after having a child, they are expected to handle household chores, kids and their jobs all alone. 

For women leaving their jobs after marriage, there still remains a spark in them to fight for their careers, but the maternity gap is a different conundrum. Women themselves suffer from extreme guilt when they think of spending more time at their job than with their children. 

Apart from that, the biggest challenge women face when deciding to resume careers is to find suitable jobs for gap in career. Most medium- to big-sized organisations tend to turn down suitable candidates just because they have a career gap of more than three years. They conclude that the person has been out of practice for so long that their prior experiences have gone null. 

However, some effective solutions rule out such assumptions, which are discussed in the article later. 

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The severity of the problem

As per the reports of the International Labour Organization (2022), over 2 million women left the labour force in 2020, further relating it to the domestic participation of men and women. The report showed that in most countries, the household participation of men and women is significantly unequal, leaving women under pressure to take up the responsibilities of household chores and children.

Therefore, the employment gap due to marriage, kids and family pressure becomes the top issue. 

The report not only reflected on the surge of women leaving their jobs during the pandemic but also highlighted how even in the pre-pandemic times, the participation of mothers in the labour market was significantly low, as well as the overall participation rate of married. 

Where 97.1% of fathers were active participators in the labour market, the number stood at only 55% in mothers with at least one child under the age of 6. The percentage of all men participating in the labour market was 93.5, which was only 62.1 in the case of women. 

Source: ILOSTAT, 2022

 

Source: ILOSTAT, 2022

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How is this career gap impacting females?

There are already a handful of assumptions in the labour market regarding women, which promotes the notion that females are less competent to handle a stressful working environment than males. Adding to that, society has always put females into a place of guilt where they feel prioritising work over household responsibilities is morally wrong. 

A career gap in a women’s resume makes the situation go even downhill. Females are already considered to be less efficient and profitable for an organisation. In addition, a resume that shows a gap of more than three years often makes the recruiter second guess the candidate’s capabilities. 

Although the gap in earnings between men and women has narrowed significantly compared to the past, there is still a long way to go. However, getting a job after a long career gap becomes difficult for all genders. Yet it gets emphasised even more when it comes to a female. 

Even after showing a proven history of great work and results, recruiters can turn down female candidates by showing various excuses. The biggest excuse is that women quickly drop corporate responsibilities for their familial responsibilities. On top of that, if a woman has already done that in the past, they assume that it will reoccur. 

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Solutions for the problem:

It is comparatively hard to get a job for gap in career, but definitely not impossible. Here are some tips one can refer to rejuvenate their career after an employment gap due to marriage, kids or any other personal reason. 

  1. Being honest about why there is a career gap in the resume is very important as anything new can not be built on a foundation of lies. Several people are trying to relaunch their careers, and there is nothing to hide about that. Being professionally transparent and putting everything into the light of positivity is vital.
  2. Confidence is the key to obtaining opportunities. Therefore, working towards a confident persona simplifies the process of convincing employers. 
  3. Rebuild the resume and make it appear more refined, as it can make or break things. Hence, rethinking the format, displaying the career gap and highlighting the skills is crucial.
  4. Preparing for the interviews will be advised as major changes in any industry can occur in such a long time. Therefore, going through the current stats and trends of the industry and the position one is applying for will be beneficial. 
  5. Restoring and rebuilding the network also helps a lot. During those employment gaps, females often lose touch with their co-workers and networks. Reconnecting to them can be a great way of generating leads and having testimonials of prior work simultaneously. 
  6. Getting online courses and certification in relevant fields can help balance the gap in the resume and make an impression that the candidate was somehow in a continuous learning experience. This helps the recruiter believe that the candidate is a curious learner and has some understanding of the current situation in the industry. 

Courses to look for:

Candidates are free to look up courses relevant to their degrees or those most sought-after and in trend. The appropriate courses majorly depend upon the background of the candidate and the field they want to relaunch their career. However, here are the 20 most popular and valued courses one can do to enhance their resume. 

  1. Data analytics course: Beginner-friendly and gives hands-on curriculum development.
  2. Basics of project management: Equips the candidate to apply for introductory level roles in project management.
  3. UX designing: To help develop User experience designs.
  4. SQL: Preparing data for exploration by learning SQL and spreadsheets.
  5. MS office: Fundamentals and advanced levels of Microsoft Excel.
  6. Visualisation: Data visualisation with the help of platforms such as Tableau 
  7. Project management: Agile project management, including Scrum framework.
  8. Fundamentals of AWS: To become a cloud developer, architect, or obtain an operations role.
  9. Python: Fundaments of Python to do data science projects
  10. Digital marketing courses: To keep up with changing digital trends. 
  11. Financial accounting courses: To analyse financial statements and assess corporate performance
  12. Responsive Web Designing: To learn using popular designing tools such as Adobe XD.
  13. Early childhood development: To examine best practices in child and family.
  14. Mental health and nutrition course: Professionals aiming to get back into healthcare courses can go for this course.
  15. Learning foreign languages: A exceptional way to obtain international working opportunities.
  16. Human resource analytics: To identify effective data sources and support organisational strategies
  17. Fundamentals of data structure and algorithms: To simplify the development processes. 
  18. Online advertising and social media marketing: To contribute to the growing social growth and leverage it to benefit brands. 
  19. Fundamentals of technical support: Growing digitisation makes it a highly sought-after job. 
  20. Courses on clinical psychology: Growing demand for psychological assistance makes it an excellent course to pursue.

Courses available on upGrad

Here are some online courses available on upGrad, that are short yet helpful to significantly boost a resume.

 

Maters of science in project management Professional Certificate Program in Data Science and Business Analytics Job Linked Advanced General Management Program from IIT Ghaziabad
Professional Certificate program in Supply Chain Strategy and Management Advanced Certificate in Digital Marketing and Communication Leadership and Management in New-Age Business
Post Graduate Certificate in Product Management Professional Certificate Programme in HR Management and Analytics Strategic Human Resource and Leadership Cornell Certificate Program 

 

Conclusion 

Going through all the available statistics, it can be said that women around the world still suffer from employment gap due to marriage, kids, family and many other personal reasons. However, with technological advancement, they still can relaunch their careers and find jobs for gap in career

Will a career gap impact my career relaunch opportunities?

If the career gap was planned and one has invested those years in updating themselves, this gap may impact positively. However, a career gap that is unproductive and unplanned might shake the employer's confidence a little bit. Although, if the candidate is able to portray that they are competent enough for the job and the career gap is nothing to be worried about, a career gap in a resume certainly does not impact the chances of a career relaunch

Why do employers care about the career gap?

The very first question that an employer has after noticing a career gap in the candidate’s resume is to wonder what they were doing during that time. An employer will always look for a candidate who is positive, curious to learn and utilises their time. Therefore, knowing the reason behind the career gap helps the recruiter to understand the person and their motivations better.

Which careers are fastest growing in 2022?

The career prospects that are growing the fastest in 2022 include sales development jobs, marketing development jobs, talent acquisition specialists, data analysts, financial analysts, legal assistants, nurse practitioners, software developers etc.

 

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