- LinkedIn will implement several features "in the coming weeks" targeted toward users who are parents or caregivers and who have spent time away from the workforce, the company confirmed to HR Dive in an email.
- Per a draft blog post by Bef Ayenew, LinkedIn's director of engineering, the changes include the ability to add job titles such as "stay-at-home mom," "stay-at-home dad" or "stay-at-home parent," and LinkedIn will remove requirements that users' resume entries be linked to a specific company or employer.
- Users also will be able to choose from a menu of potential employment gap types, such as parental leave, sabbatical and family care, Ayenew wrote. The new additions are part of a larger LinkedIn overhaul intended to help users create a more "expressive and inclusive" profile; a March 30 company blog announced the introduction of features including an optional field in which users can add their pronouns.
LinkedIn's announcement addresses a significant concern for both employers and workers in the past year: turnover caused by increased caregiving responsibilities and needs during the pandemic.
Half of employers in a 2020 U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation survey who said they lost employees during the pandemic identified child care concerns as a factor in employees' decisions to leave the workforce.
Other research has found caregiving activities generally, not just those related to child care, fueled such trends. A 2020 Morning Consult survey of 1,500 unemployment insurance recipients found more than half of parent respondents who quit their jobs did so due to child care needs or school closures, and 37% of caregiver respondents quit to look after a sick family member.
The pandemic drove many employers to respond to these pressures by expanding employee benefits, according to Care.com. The company's February report included a survey of 500 C-suite HR leaders and managers in which 66% said their organizations would offer more flexibility and 63% would add child care benefits. The responses also spoke to a disparity between men and women in terms of caregiving duties; 71% said attrition was more pronounced among female employees.
Potential solutions included expanded backup care benefits. But there are other ways in which HR teams can seek to improve organizational handling of caregiving concerns. Managerial training could be one example. A July 2020 survey by the Disability Management Employer Coalition found 58% of employers said supervisors had not received training on workplace benefits and resources available for caregivers. Additionally, there are cultural adjustments that employers might consider to better support caregivers, experts said, such as distributing information through employee resource groups.
Employers also may seek to assist caregivers in returning to the workforce by considering alternate onboarding models. Even before the pandemic, companies such as Walmart experimented with "returnship" roles, which provide opportunities to mid-career workers who pause their careers due to caregiving responsibilities or other reasons.