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‘Career breaks tricky for women, pay gap persists’

BENGALURU: Even as India Inc is wooing women in mid-management roles to re-enter the workforce with

returnship opportunities

, employers face some challenges in onboarding returnees. Talent advisory firm Longhouse Consulting’s report showed that approximately 80% of

working women

in India take

career breaks

, with 45% citing

childcare

and personal commitments as primary reasons.

Women who have significant gaps in their resumes due to career breaks for caregiving or other personal/family reasons can be viewed as having a disadvantage, the report said.
The talent advisory firm said that unconscious bias and stereotypes about women’s commitment and capabilities after a career break can impact hiring decisions. It also said women returnees struggle to negotiate fair compensation and benefits after a career break.
Women have experienced limited opportunities for career progression or advancement compared to their peers who did not take a career break and that can be a deterrent. On the brighter side, companies are introducing flexible policies including extended childcare leave policies, remote and flexible working culture, gender-neutral caregiver leaves for new parents, and upskilling opportunities.

Women’s participation in the workforce grew to 37% in FY23, a 13.7 percentage points increase in 2023 compared to 23.3% in 2018, the report showed. In India, around 25.6 crore women are employed, out of a total female population of over 69.2 crore.