Millennials Taking Career Breaks Find Many Options When They Return
The old career path of baby boomers spending 30-plus years at the same employer and getting a gold watch at retirement is long gone. Today, things are different.
Millennials are more likely to take an extended career break to make time for travel, childbirth and caring for their relatives. Luckily, with the unemployment rate hitting record lows, they don’t have to sweat their return to the workforce — it’s a strong market for job seekers. Couple this with a tight labor market, and employers are more willing to take chances hiring someone who took a career break.
Here’s what we know about coming back to work in 2020.
You’re not alone. Taking a break is common, especially among younger workers …
84 percent of millennials foresee taking significant breaks during their career. (Manpower Group)
To some extent, millennial men and women differ on why they take breaks.
Women are more likely to exit the workforce to have and care for children.
Why millennial women say they’ll need to take a break:
Millennial men are slightly more likely to take a break for relaxation and travel.
Why millennial men will temporarily exit the workforce:
Luckily, more companies are willing to be somewhat flexible regarding career breaks.
Here’s the percentage of companies that accept the following:
Phasing into retirement by working reduced hours (54% of employers allow some employees to do so)
Sabbaticals and return to a comparable job (28%)
Extended career breaks for caregiving or other personal or family responsibilities (52%)
Special consideration when returning to the organization after an extended career break (20%)
In fact, many companies are offering “returnships,” internship-esque programs designed for workers who are reentering the workforce after an extended break.
Here are five returnships you should know about:
There are many more that can be found by pairing the company name with “return to work” in your search query.
Additionally, getting in touch with your friends, family and old colleagues is a great way to start …
Some surveys estimate that 85 percent of all jobs are filled through networking. (LinkedIn)
Yet, 38 percent of people say they have trouble staying in touch with their professional network. Nearly half (49 percent) say it’s because they don’t have time. (LinkedIn)
… as is scouring prominent job boards on the Internet.
Here are the leading online job boards, ranked by share of hires:
Keep an eye on industries that seem to be booming. You could move your career in a more stable direction.
Here are the fastest-growing occupations in the United States and what they pay:
Solar photovoltaic installersMedian annual wage:
Wind turbine service techniciansMedian annual wage:
Home health aidesMedian annual wage:
Personal care aidesMedian annual wage:
Occupational therapy assistantsMedian annual wage:
Information security analystsMedian annual wage:
Physician assistantsMedian annual wage:
StatisticiansMedian annual wage:
Nurse practitionersMedian annual wage:
Speech-language pathologistsMedian annual wage:
Physical therapist assistantsMedian annual wage:
Genetic counselorsMedian annual wage:
MathematiciansMedian annual wage:
Operations research analystsMedian annual wage:
App developersMedian annual wage:
Forest fire inspectors and prevention specialistsMedian annual wage:
Health specialties teachers in postsecondary schoolMedian annual wage:
PhlebotomistsMedian annual wage:
Physical therapist aidesMedian annual wage:
Medical assistantsMedian annual wage:
Substance abuse, behavioral disorder and mental health counselorsMedian annual wage:
Marriage and family therapistsMedian annual wage:
Massage therapistsMedian annual wage:
Restaurant cooksMedian annual wage:
Physical therapistsMedian annual wage:
Respiratory therapistsMedian annual wage:
Market research analysts and marketing specialistsMedian annual wage:
ActuariesMedian annual wage:
Computer numerically controlled machine tool programmers, metal and plasticMedian annual wage:
Nursing instructors and teachers in postsecondary schoolMedian annual wage:
The stats above show that you can reenter the workforce without breaking your stride. Here are a few additional tips for making the transition a smooth one. You should consider:
Explaining your career break briefly in your cover letter. No need to go into detail. You should quickly pivot to why you’re excited about coming back, and how you can help the employer achieve its goals.
Choosing your resume format thoughtfully. People who take an extended career break may be best served by the hybrid resume format, which includes a work history timeline while showcasing marketable skills and major accomplishments
Getting additional training. Since you’ve been away for a while, you should revisit the skills listed on your resume. Do they still apply? Do they match the job description? If not, see if any affordable classes are available, and get up to speed.
If you’re hungry for more, keep reading our 2020 employment stats series, including:
Why working into retirement has become the new normal. We look at the underlying conditions causing the trend, and which jobs are best suited for workers 65 and older.
The state of blue-collar work in 2020. Such jobs haven’t disappeared — they’re just changing. We look at why experts predict a blue-collar job shortage in the next ten years, and how you can break into one of the fields most in need of workers.
How you can ace your next job interview. Interviews are key to landing your dream job. We reviewed the most common questions, employers’ interview pet peeves and the body language that will project a winning confidence.