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A campaign has been launched to get employers to drop cv dates and focus on returners’ skills rather than their career gap.
One in three workers have taken a career gap of six months or more, but over half [53%] would feel more confident applying for jobs if they didn’t have to share the ‘gap’ with employers, according to a new survey.
The survey results are released for the launch of the #DontMindTheCareerGap campaign by recruitment experts Applied and Women Returners., which is calling on employers to assess employment histories more fairly by asking candidates to share the number of months or years they spent in previous roles, instead of specific dates.
The survey of 2,001 adults found that, of the third of British adults who have taken a career gap, childcare was the most common reason. This was cited by a quarter of respondents overall, the majority of whom were women. 38% of women who had taken time out of work cited childcare as the reason, compared to just 11% of men who had taken time out of work.
Mental or physical health was the second most common reason for taking a career gap, cited by 20% of all respondents. Health was the most common reason amongst men, cited by 23% of male respondents.
Redundancy was the third most common reason overall, cited by 10% of respondents. Nine per cent of people have taken time out to care for a friend or relative.
The survey showed that over half of British workers (53%) who have taken a career gap would prefer not to share it during a job application. This figure rises to 77% amongst C-Level Executives.
Nevertheless, over half (51%) of respondents believed that they gained new or transferable skills, or enhanced their existing skill set during their career gap.
In an additional survey of 200 HR professionals and employers carried out by Applied, over a third of respondents (35%) confirmed that they believed taking a career gap of a year or longer can result in skill-fade. And almost half (49%) believe that candidates who have taken a career gap should be prepared to explain their time away from work to prospective employers.
Khyati Sundaram, CEO of Applied, said: “We want employers to help level the playing field for all candidates by evolving their application process so that candidates with career gaps cannot be screened out of the process early. By removing employment start and end dates from CVs, and using a skills-based hiring model, employers can build an inclusive hiring process that empowers all candidates to showcase their skills – no matter where, how, or when they gained them. Candidates should not have to explain their career gap to employers beyond the extent to which the skills they gained qualify them for the role at hand. The notion of ‘skill-fade’ during a career gap is a fallacy and we want to ensure all candidates are given a fair and equal chance to succeed.”