A new study has revealed that two-thirds of professional women who return to work after a career break may face downgraded careers i.e. they work fewer hours than they prefer or go into lower-skilled or lower-paid roles.
According to the research which was conducted by PwC with Women Returners and 30% Club, 427,000 UK female professionals are currently estimated to be on a career break.
Of those, 249,000 (or three in five) are likely to enter lower skilled roles when they return.
Why does this matter?
Well, the findings highlight a worrying problem for women because this downgrading is also associated with a 12-32% reduction in hourly earnings.
What is the cause?
A lack of flexible roles. The study found that 29,000 women returning to part-time work would prefer to work longer hours but are unable to find appropriate roles.
Women also face barriers of negative CV bias amongst recruiters and potential employers, who assume that the lack of recent experience is automatically associated with an erosion of skills.
“A CV gap presents a significant barrier to resuming a successful professional career after a multi-year break,” said Julianne Miles, Co-Founder and Director of Women Returners.
“Employers often assume a lack of recent experience equates to a loss of the ability to operate at a senior level. A US study found that managers prefer to hire a less qualified candidate over one who has been out of work for more than six months, as they assume skills have deteriorated; and this recruitment bias is far greater with a multi-year gap. Those returners seeking a part-time or flexible role to combine work with family life also struggle to find a suitable professional opportunity.”