What happens when women return to the workforce?

What happens when women return to the workforce?

Returning to the workforce post-career break can be a rough ride for female employees. LinkedIn has surfaced several industries where women are more likely to return to work after taking a career break. Here’s the top five:

  • Hospitals and healthcare (51.6%)
  • Financial services (41.7%)
  • Professional services (38.1%)
  • Real estate (34.4%)
  • Technology, information and media (31.7%)

Many companies in the sectors above have demonstrated support for career breaks. What this means is that they not only provide employees the chance to take a break from work for any sensible reason but also give them the help they need to get back on track after being away for quite a while. However, a return to work in any industry does not come without any hurdles.

What’s in the way?

There are three major culprits here:

1. Gender bias

Traditional employers and hiring managers have been known to see women as caregivers. The resulting bias introduces more scrutiny regarding their capability to do their work. This influences how they are generally seen at work, and may even hamper career advancement. 

2. Lack of flexible work setups

Women returning to the workforce likely carry with them new responsibilities that may require more flexibility. The absence of flexible arrangements such as remote and hybrid work can keep them from advancing at the speed of their male counterparts. 

3. Technological advancement

Technology marches on, and women who have taken long career breaks may find themselves running into unfamiliar tech upon their return. They may need time to catch up on technological development, and their organisation has a key role in getting them up to speed. 

Making the return easier for women

Here’s how companies can support female employees returning after an extended career break:

  • Provide flexible work arrangements to foster a healthy work-life balance. 
  • Set up mentoring and coaching sessions to keep women up-to-date with changes in their organisation and deliverables. 
  • Offer upskilling opportunities to help women catch up with technological changes
  • Create a childcare program so returning mothers can work with peace of mind. 
  • Communicate constantly and be transparent with everything, ensuring they’re in the loop with the changes. 


Companies should not make it difficult for women to return to the workforce. All it takes is a little bit of empathy. Understanding the struggles of female employees will help businesses come up with solutions that will help facilitate their smooth return to work. 

About Sam P

EnterpriseZone Staff Writer

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