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Why you should embrace the pandemic parenting gap

Protocol Workplace

Welcome back to our Workplace newsletter. Today: Pandemic parenting gaps on resumes, Amazon is increasing its pay for tech workers and Airbnb’s latest stats on working from anywhere.

—Amber Burton, reporter (twitter | email)

Pandemic parenting gaps

We’ve coined a lot of new terms and phrases over the past two years of working through a pandemic. The latest to add to the list: “pandemic parenting gaps.” Recruiters are beginning to see a new type of career gap on resumes as people return to the workplace following stints of caretaking.

LinkedIn has even added new job title entries for people to denote parenting-related career gaps. Last year to better reflect their members’ career journeys, LinkedIn introduced "stay-at-home mom,” “stay-at-home dad” and “stay-at-home parent" as official titles. It was done to recognize the challenge of full-time parenting, said Suzi Owens, LinkedIn director of Communications, in a statement to Protocol.

A 2021 LinkedIn survey of over 2,000 respondents revealed that the stigma surrounding career gaps is fading:

  • 79% of hiring managers today say they would hire a candidate with a career gap on their resume, according to LinkedIn.
  • 59% of hiring managers are interested in learning about any transferable skills you have learned, and 58% are interested in lessons that can be applied to a particular job, shared Owens.

Allison Rutledge-Parisi, senior vice president of People at Justworks, also said she’s seen a shifting view toward career gaps. “I sense in the atmosphere a change from the days earlier in my career. If you see a gap on a resume, it's no longer a red flag at all. It's an area of inquiry,” she said. “But the inquiry is not assessing if it's OK or not. The inquiry is more like, ‘Wow, what did you do?'”

There’s now more respect and support for people reentering the workplace. COVID-19 was the “great leveler” because everyone's life was disrupted, said Rutledge-Parisi.

Eric Blumenthal, a father of two, was laid off from his IT job in September 2019, after a reorganization at his company. Blumenthal, who had been working in IT for 20 years, had planned to take some time off at the end of the year to spend with family, and then begin looking for jobs again in 2020. Then, the pandemic hit.

“My oldest at the time was in kindergarten, and by March they went fully remote. So basically any progress I had made looking for a job had to stop right there because we had to have somebody home with them,” he said. “And then for my baby, he was supposed to go into a daycare once I found a job, but then I didn't find a job, so he was at home with me full-time as well.”

By the time Blumenthal was able to dedicate himself to finding a job again, it was September 2021, and two years had flown by. He estimates that he sent out about 200 resumes by that November. When he reached out to one recruiter, he was told that gap might be seen as a challenge in IT.

“We were going over my resume and he said to me, 'You’re probably going to run into a major issue because of this two-year gap. Because in IT, the technology changes every day, and you've been out of work for two years,'” he said.

During the pandemic, he struggled to balance parenting with keeping his tech skills up to date. For Blumenthal, being a stay-at-home parent felt like a full-time job. The job search entailed a couple months getting little to no bites at all on his resume. “It's been tough for a lot of parents like me; they're just not getting that fair shot,” he told Protocol.

But Blumenthal did eventually land a job. In January, he started a new role back in IT. He said when the hiring manager at his current company reached out, they weren’t looking at the gap. Instead, they asked more about what he knew rather than what had happened during the gap. For Blumenthal, it spoke volumes about the organization’s values and culture.

Some companies, recognizing that need for a shot, have launched training and reentry programs for people who have experienced career gaps. Meta’s legal group is launching the third iteration of its “Reconnect Program” for legal professionals who have had to pause their careers. While Meta partnered with The Mom Project for the program, the initiative is for anyone who has paused their career, whether that be as a caretaker, to pursue a lifelong passion or for any other reason. Meta’s director and associate general counsel, Nikki Stitt Sokol, said she’s seen candidates with pauses anywhere from two to 12 years.

People just want you to take a chance on them, Sokol told Protocol. She herself took a few years off to care for her children when they were younger. She said it had been an anxiety at the time, “of wanting to have quality time with my family, to take care of my family, but also feeling really passionately about my career. I was lucky enough that I ended up connecting with people who were in positions of power at firms who really understood this … and I was able to on-ramp back into my career.”

She pitched Meta’s Reconnect Program with that experience in mind. The 12-month program now offers participants a cohort for support as well as a sponsor within the organization to give them the best chance of succeeding back in the legal profession. Much like highly skilled tech roles, working within legal in tech is a rapidly changing space causing some to easily feel left behind.

  • “I think what's so unique about doing these programs right now in tech is that privacy law, tech law, all these issues are evolving so rapidly … Yes, there are some things that people may have missed in the last few years in the area of privacy law, but the law is evolving so quickly, you can jump in and start learning it right along with the rest of us,” she said.

Claire Conneely, who is the talent acquisition lead at Argo Group, said she’s not concerned about whether people can catch up following a break in their careers. The insurance firm is currently hiring for a number of highly skilled tech roles. For her, it’s more about ensuring that job candidates have a desire to learn and are curious. While it is absolutely fair for a recruiter to ask about a career gap, she said she urges her team to focus more on finding the right skills and fit for the company.

“I think especially for those that took a step back, I think they're almost more aware in terms of what it is that they want, not only for their next job, but I think what they want in terms of the intangibles from a career from a company,” said Conneely.

Amazon more than doubles base pay for tech workers

Some engineers and employees at Amazon corporate are about to get a huge pay raise. The company announced in an internal memo Monday — first reported by Geekwire – that the maximum base salary for its tech workers will increase to $350,000 from $160,000.

The memo acknowledged that Amazon has struggled in the increasingly tight tech labor market (we wrote in more detail about why it’s so bad for tech companies right here). The previous $160k max compensation for base salary is much lower than Amazon’s peers, and while the company has usually made up for the difference in stock grants and other benefits, employees have reportedly grown increasingly rankled over the comparatively low pay. Amazon’s stock price also continues to be volatile, making stock grants less attractive than cold hard cash.

The company announced plans to hire 40,000 additional corporate employees in Sept. 2021, in addition to another 125,000 workers in warehousing, delivery and non-corporate jobs. Those 40,000 workers have to come from somewhere, and while Meta, Google and Apple were offering much higher cash salaries, it would be undeniably hard to fill even a portion of those jobs. The company is also fighting to combat very high turnover in its warehousing, where Amazon employees make an average starting wage of $18/hour in base pay.

— Anna Kramer, reporter (twitter | email)


Whether you work on the top floor or the shop floor, Workplace celebrates who you are and what you can bring to your business. Discover the place where you can be more you.

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Today's tips & tools

If you want to know how to create a snazzy email signature, I have the perfect TikTok for you. Graphic designer Sam Remboldt describes how to use Google Docs to create a personalized email signature.

  • First, create a 2x1 table in Google Docs
  • Make the table taller, and move the center line to the left
  • Click each line in the table and for border width click “0 pt”
  • In the left column, insert an image (maybe a logo or GIF!)
  • In the right column, insert all your information
  • Then, copy and paste into your email signature page on Gmail or Outlook.

Have fun with it. Or ignore if you’re against having images in email signatures. Apparently it’s controversial.

— Lizzy Lawrence, reporter (twitter | email)

Working from anywhere

We all know that one friend who found a way to work remotely from a rented cabin in the woods for a month. Maybe we know more than one person who has done this. (Maybe we’re also a little bit jealous). People spending extended periods of time in a variety of vacation locales has become more common as companies increase flexibility to recruit and retain workers. And according to Airbnb, the trend is not slowing down. People are spending a lot more time working remotely outside their homes. Airbnb surveyed 7,500 people across 5 countries about how they live and work. Turns out more workers are taking advantage of the flexibility in their jobs. Here are some of the highlights from the survey about how people are now using Airbnb rentals:

  • People are spending longer periods of time in vacation rentals. 45% of nights booked on Airbnb were for at least one week, up from 38% two years ago.
  • People are looking for places to stay that accommodate working remotely. Searches filtering for rentals with wifi, kitchens and pets were up 95% on the site, and long-term stay searches for homes with “laptop-friendly workspaces” was up 73%.
  • 55% of survey respondents said they now plan to do more travel during off-peak times, signaling more flexibility.
  • 37% of the people said they plan to embark on more “long-stay travel.”

More stories from us

More workplace stories you might have missed.

How to know if the 4-day workweek would work for your company

Opinion: How organizations can do a better job of supporting parents

More about how Amazon is raising base pay to attract tech talent


Whether you work on the top floor or the shop floor, Workplace celebrates who you are and what you can bring to your business. Discover the place where you can be more you.

Learn more

Around the internet

A roundup of workplace news from the farthest corners of the internet.

  • Is there such a thing as too casual when it comes to today’s workplace?
  • The shift in power among tech workers is a global trend.
  • Bleisure” trips are a thing now. I’m still trying to decide if I love or hate that word.
  • The sites job candidates are going to look for remote tech jobs.

Thoughts, questions, tips? Send them to Have a great day, see you Thursday.

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