Microsoft owned leading professional network LinkedIn has normalized taking a career break by adding a new feature on its platform. LinkedIn has introduced a new way to represent a ‘career break’ in the Experience section of the LinkedIn Profile, with 13 options including caregiving, and health and well-being.
To understand the sentiments around career, a global survey of 22,995 workers and 4,017 hiring managers was conducted by Censuswide on behalf of LinkedIn.
As per the survey, 64 percent of women have experienced a career break at some point in their career with top reasons including parental leave (22%), medical leave (17%) and mental health reasons (14%). The survey also revealed that in January 2022 on LinkedIn, 70% of career break-related searches and 67% of career break-related posts globally came from female members. 60% of respondents still believe there’s a stigma attached to career breaks, while 50% of hiring managers acknowledged that they are becoming more common and 46% believe candidates with career breaks on their resume are an untapped pool of talent.
The professional network found that 51% of hiring managers were more likely to contact applications that provided context on their career breaks, and 68% of women desire more ways to positively represent those breaks. 48% of hirers think the biggest mistake candidates make when discussing their career breaks is undervaluing themselves in terms of compensation or seniority of the role.
What is the impact the new feature has on the working women community? According to industry experts, the new feature from LinkedIn will help women to emerge from career breaks and re-enter the workforce, build confidence and showcase their skills.
“This initiative by Linkedin is an example of how recruiters can be accommodating and supportive towards their potential employees. This is particularly significant for women who are more susceptible to losing out on career-oriented opportunities due to the sabbaticals that we end up taking for marriage, maternity, etc. If retaining top women talent is a priority for a brand, then this is the way to go ahead,” said Misbah Quadri, Founder & CEO, Monofys Media.
For Dileep Seinberg, a Psychologist turned Entrepreneur, Founder & CEO, Thinkchain Blockchain, the new feature added by LinkedIn can contribute positively to an individual’s career growth.
“We are built by our society and family and developed as a human which drives our work and dreams. Being a psychologist and now running my crypto venture, I can say LinkedIn as social media creates the Personal development Identity of a person. This will drive how we hire, retain and understand the person as a person, not as a candidate. Also, nowadays, it’s not about what you know, but what you are in totality, including these aspects like full-time parenting, caregiving, bereavement, taking a gap year, or being laid will surely drive how people present their resume to the companies and recruiter,” Dileep added.
According to Misbah, Career gaps, just like academic gap years, can add immense depth, value and finesse to an individual’s overall perspective and professional contribution towards a brand’s collective success. There are countless studies to back the fact that well planned outbreaks taken at regular intervals boost employee productivity.
“The prevailing bias against individuals who have gaps in their career graphs is unnecessary, downright petty and entirely avoidable. I commend this move by LinkedIn wholeheartedly,” she added.
“A career break can be a great culture to imbibe in the long run”, observes Nishant Sapkale, Founder, Box Office Entertainment & 3Pop Studios
“Taking a career break can be as liberating as it is daunting, depending on one’s reasons and situations – the effects of it vary for both men & women. A career break is a prolonged break from one’s professional job. On one hand, it gives us the space and time to introspect on our personal and professional lives and evaluate ourselves. It’s an opportunity to get our life together, gives us room to take a macro look at our career and long-term goals – which are often neglected, thanks to the kind of pressure we need to undergo in our professional life. While on the other hand, it can be intimidating and challenging to resume or get back up there in the competitive market. Nevertheless, a career break can be a great culture to imbibe in the long run,” he added.
LinkedIn is rolling out its new career breaks feature to all the members globally and will be available to everyone in the coming weeks.