- Whether it’s for a dependent’s caregiving or even more personal reasons, taking a career break is still looked down upon.
- On March 1, LinkedIn launched a new Profile tool specifically aimed at normalizing career breaks.
- 50% of hiring managers believe people returning from a career break have often gained valuable soft skills.
A career break is a period of time not spent in employment, and is commonly used for people to take time out of their career for personal or professional development
Whether it’s for a dependent’s caregiving or even more personal reasons, taking a career break is still looked down upon in lots of industries.
On March 1, LinkedIn launched a new Profile tool specifically aimed at normalizing career breaks.
Career Breaks is a new, optional entry in the Experience section of a person’s LinkedIn profile, with a unique appearance that makes it clear that a career break was not just another job.
People will be able to choose from a range of options to show what type of career break they had, including important life events such as:
- Full-time parenting
- Career transition
- Health and wellbeing
- Gap year
New research from LinkedIn shows career breaks are more common than we think, especially for women
A January 2022 global LinkedIn survey of 22,995 respondents showcased that career breaks are more common amongst women. 62% of people globally have taken a career break, and for women, this increases to 64%.
69% of women in the U.S. have experienced a career break at some point in their career, with the top reason being mental health (22%). Other reasons include: medical leave (20%), education (15%), and burnout (13%), as well as caregiving (13%) and parental leave (13%).
In January, 70% of career break-related searches on LinkedIn came from female members.
Many who took a career break were parents faced with having to choose between work and family – 48% of women who took a career break for parental leave felt they had to choose between prioritizing their career over their kids, and 59% worry they don’t spend enough time with their children because of their career.
41% found it difficult to tell their employer they were taking a career break to have children and 60% of women say they were nervous about returning to work after taking a career break to have children.
Especially now as work/life balance is the #1 priority for workers, career breaks can be valuable in assessing priorities.
70% of women say taking a career break helped them to gain perspective and figure out what they really want from life, and 53% would encourage others to take a career break if they could.
70% of women say taking a career break positively impacted their wellbeing, and 60% say taking a career break gave them more confidence.
54% of women say they’re better at their job after having a career break. And 51% of hiring managers believe people who take career breaks can restart their careers at any time.
Yet even with the increased need for flexibility at work, there’s still a stigma associated with career breaks
61% of women believe there’s a stigma associated with having a career break, and 56% believe having a career break on your resume makes you a less attractive job candidate.
63% of women say the current stigma of having a career break needs to shift, especially in light of the increased need for flexibility at work.
71% of women say the pandemic exposed an urgent need for change in the approach to flexible working, and 53% say they’ve either left a job – or would consider leaving – because their employer didn’t offer a feasible flexible work policy.
Sentiment around career breaks is changing for the better
50% of hiring managers believe career breaks are becoming more common and 46% believe candidates with career breaks are an untapped talent pool.
In 2021, the shift started on LinkedIn with job postings in the U.S. mentioning career breaks up 63% from 2020, and up by nearly 100% from 2018.
52% of hiring managers believe candidates should proactively bring up their career break during the interview and highlight what they learned during that time – 50% of hiring managers believe people returning from a career break have often gained valuable soft skills and 46% believe candidates undersell them.
74% of women who’ve taken a career break believe employers value the skills they gained. The top soft skill women say they gained during their career break is:
- patience (35%)
- self-awareness (31%)
- communication (27%)
The top hard skills include:
- creative thinking (28%)
- time management (28%)
- problem-solving (27%)
Before you quit your job to pursue a project, take care of dependents, or to just take a well needed break, you’ll need to make sure your finances are in order by determining how much you’ll need to save and what hidden expenses you’ll need to cover during your career break. You should also have an idea of what you plan on doing after your career break, according to CNBC.