- Almost 60% of stay-at-home parents revealed they ultimately took more time off work than anticipated before exiting the workforce, according to a Flexjobs survey of more then 900 parents interested in getting back to work. Only 6% took less time away from the workforce than they anticipated they would, Flexjobs found.
- Seventy-six percent of stay-at-home parents said they try to stay connected to their careers, while 24% said they'd completely disconnected from their previous careers, according to the survey. To keep the connection open, 52% of survey respondents kept in contact with previous co-workers, 32% kept up with industry news, 21% followed experts on social media related to their careers and 17% upskilled with new software and tech.
- Although 36% of parents revealed they wanted to continue working, they said their jobs were "too inflexible to accommodate my needs as a working parent." The ideal return-to-work situation for 90% of parents was the ability to work remotely from home, Flexjobs found.
Talented workers looking to boomerang back into the workforce after a stint as a stay-at-home parent may have a lot to offer employers. With deep knowledge of the company culture culture and work processes, former employees can typically skip over a wealth of new hire orientation processes and achieve productivity sooner. The challenge for business is to value this cohort and make pathways to return to work easier and more welcoming.
Many companies have created returnship programs for exactly this reason. Several large employers have launched such programs in recent memory, including BP and Walmart in select offices. These programs can include learning and development initiatives and networking opportunities to prepare working parents and caregivers anew for the rigors of work after an extended gap.
As the workforce shifts, with more workers looking to start a family and others required to take on caregiver roles for aging family, there is a need for employers to help these workers retain their skillsets and connections to the workplace. HR could consider how offering remote work options could help this group manage work-life demands more easily, and think about how learning and development initiatives could be tailored specifically for these workers.