For both candidates and employers, career gaps can be a point of tension. However, career gaps often come with very justifiable reasons, and they are losing their stigma as time goes on.
Generational changes are one of the reasons for a change in attitude towards career gaps. Many Gen Z professionals see time off as a good thing, incorporating breaks before and after college. As more people in that generation enter the workforce, perceptions of “gaps” or “jumps” on resumes have been forced to change.
The pandemic was also a significant catalyst for career breaks, due to layoffs, child care responsibilities, and a variety of other reasons. As unemployment remains low, it is crucial for employers to look for individuals seeking to reenter the workforce after a break. The pandemic disproportionately affected female workers, so to over-consider career gaps would likely continue to disproportionately affect talented and qualified women.
Career gaps are also hard to avoid because they are not uncommon. 62% of all workers have a gap in their resume. People are less likely to “stick it out” at a job they hate just to get to the coveted two-year mark with an employer. LinkedIn has provided users the ability to add “career breaks” to their profile, along with reasons for the gaps. This option has allowed people to embrace those gaps and not be so nervous about their effects.
We’re slowly moving towards a world where employers are more understanding and thoughtful about the experiences that create a full person – focusing on finding the best candidate, not the most perfect and straightforward resume.