Finding the Right Job Opportunities Biggest Concern for 75% of Parents Trying to Return to Work: FlexJobs Report

The rise of the Delta variant and corresponding uncertainty around its impact on school closings, may delay many parents’ return to work. Still, some currently unemployed parents have reported planning their re-entry into the workforce. According to FlexJobs’ survey of over 500 parents who are currently unemployed but now job searching, 75 percent say that finding the right job opportunities is their biggest concern about trying to return to work. This concern is well ahead of other factors, such as finding jobs with adequate pay (49%), explaining gaps on their resume (40%), and changing career fields (35%).

Concerns About Trying to Return to Work

  • Finding the right job opportunities (75%)
  • Finding a job with adequate pay (49%)
  • Explaining gaps on my resume (40%)
  • Changing career fields (35%)
  • Haven’t interviewed in a long time (34%)
  • Ageism (33%)
  • Being out of date with skills (31%)
  • Lacking experience (24%)
  • Update resumes/writing cover letters (24%)
  • Updating or establishing an online presence (23%)
  • Lacking confidence (19%)
  • Navigating ATS and other job application systems (16%)

“Even with the record high number of job openings in today’s economy, and other challenges that they may face in the job search process during a very stressful and uncertain time, it’s interesting that parents who want to join the workforce are most concerned about finding the right jobs to apply to,” said Sara Sutton, Founder & CEO of FlexJobs. “These worries, of course, mirror the greater trend around the reported mismatch between high job openings and high unemployment. In fact, in July, we found that 48% of unemployed job seekers were most frustrated because they were not finding the right jobs to apply to,” concluded Sutton.

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FlexJobs’ survey, conducted in late July and early August, was designed to better understand the experiences of parents who are currently unemployed and now are looking to rejoin the workforce. Top findings include:

Reasons for Leaving the Workforce:
While roughly a quarter left the workforce because they wanted to be a stay-at-home parent, another quarter cited the pandemic as the reason they left. 5 percent of respondents had never been in the workforce.

They left because:

  • Wanted to be a stay-at-home parent (26%)
  • Pandemic-related conflict (25%)
  • Did not choose to leave the workforce (23%)
  • Needed or wanted to start a career change or transition (18%)
  • Work-life balance was too difficult to achieve (17%)
  • Not enough flexible jobs (16%)
  • Lack of adequate, affordable childcare (13%)

Reasons for Returning to the Workforce:
Only 6 percent of parents say they are not feeling ready or prepared to return to the workforce.

They are returning because:

  • I need to work again for financial reasons (81%)
  • I miss working (39%)
  • I think there will be more flexible job opportunities post-pandemic (34%)
  • I need to work again for healthcare benefits (18%)
  • My children are in school now (15%)
  • I think companies are more family-friendly now (14%)
  • I don’t like being a stay-at-home parent (9%)

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FlexJobs’ Career Coaching Team recommends addressing gaps directly on your resume to help both the applicant tracking systems and people reading your resume understand why you have a gap. To do this, add your career break just like any other job, with the job title as Career Break, Planned Career Break, or Professionally Active Career Break, and the dates it occurred. See FlexJobs’ document of sample Career Break sections to see what this might look like in practice.

FlexJobs will be hosting a Remote Work Virtual Job Fair on September 14, 2021 from 12pm – 4pm ET, designed to help connect remote job seekers with employers that are hiring. Featured employers include Williams-Sonoma, CVS Health, and Belay.

*FlexJobs created the survey, which was promoted to general audiences and its subscribers/members primarily through social media and newsletters. FlexJobs used a multiple choice and multi-select question format via Survey Monkey’s online platform. The survey ran from July 21, 2021 to August 9, 2021.

Demographic breakdown of the 511 respondents: Gender: women (79%), men (20%), prefer not to identify (1%); Generation: Gen Z (11%), millennial/Gen Y (42%), Gen X (43%), baby boomer (5%); Education: less than a high school degree (3%), high school degree or equivalent (10%), some college but no degree (23%), associate’s or bachelor’s degree (45%), graduate degree (19%); Career level: entry-level (30%), experienced (49%), manager (16%), senior-level manager (5%); Time out of the workforce: less than one year (41%), one to two years (30%), three to five years (12%), five to seven years (6%), eight+ years (11%). 100% had children 18 or younger living at home with them.

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