Support Career Gaps in Recruitment

Posted in : HR Updates ROI on 5 October 2022 Issues covered: Recruitment; Career Gaps

People take time out of work for many reasons. Sometimes it’s a choice; for others it’s a necessity. Women, who are statistically more likely to take time out of work for caregiving, are disproportionately disadvantaged by career gaps.  This article from Applied explains why career gaps should not be a barrier in recruitment.  

At Applied we champion ethical and inclusive hiring. At Women Returners, the team is on a mission to remove the career break penalty.  ‍Together, we want to ensure all candidates entering and returning to the workforce are given an equal chance to succeed. To do this, we’re asking employers to assess employment histories blind.  This means making a pledge to evolve the application process so that candidates aren’t asked to specify the dates attached to their previous roles, but to share the ‘number of years’ they spent in each role instead.  

According to research, almost three in 10 women (29%) thought that taking maternity leave had a negative impact on their career. Meanwhile, less than half the proportion of men (13%) noticed the same impact after paternity leave. And 57% of working mothers feel that taking time out of work for childcare isn’t in fact a “choice”.   

New research, commissioned by Applied, found that career gaps are statistically more likely to disadvantage women, who are more likely to take time out of work to fulfil childcare responsibilities.

Of the 2000 people we surveyed, 38% of women with a career gap took time out for childcare, compared to just 11% of men surveyed. For men, mental or physical health was the most common reason for taking a career break, cited by 23% of male respondents compared to 18% of women. 

Research shows that when candidates replace CV dates with number of years’ experience, call-back rates improve by 14% compared to candidates with an ‘explained’ or ‘unexplained’ gap on their CV.  So whether you’re an organisation, recruiter or HR professional, you can help us end the stigma around career gaps for good by pledging to assess employment histories blind.  

Find out more about the work of Applied and access guidance here: 

Free Video!

Patrick White, formerly of Applied spoke at a Legal Island event on how to uncover the best candidate by using the most predictive assessments and anonymised recruitment.  Watch his session here:


This article is correct at 05/10/2022

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