It’s a relief for parents everywhere as LinkedIn introduces “stay-at-home” titles for parents who leave their jobs to take on full-time caregiving responsibilities over their children. This decision comes after years of pressure from parents to reduce the rigidity of their platform to help them better explain their hiatuses from the labor force. Additionally, the Microsoft-owned company has waived the requirement that every resume entry have a link to a specific employer, which opens up more opportunities for those who’ve taken a step back from their careers to raise their kids.
Earlier this month, the company was under fire from a Medium post that claimed that the social network lacked flexible options for those who’ve left the working force, especially working moms, 2.3 million of whom have been forced to leave the workforce as a result of the pandemic.
A recent study by Welch showed that stay-at-home parents work over 14 hours a day (much longer than the average employee), and LinkedIn’s previous non-inclusion of this demographic only diminished the important and difficult role that these parents play.
The Medium post also notes that LinkedIn had no options on their site to explain career gaps due to volunteering work, adoption, gap years, education, bereavement, long term travel, or illness.
Speaking to Fortune, Bef Ayenew, director of engineering at LinkedIn responded to the criticism saying, “I wholeheartedly agree that we need to normalize employment gaps on the profile to help reframe hiring conversation.” According to Mr. Ayenew, the solutions rolled out on Tuesday are “stopgap”, meant to give temporary reprieve as the platform works on a more comprehensive overhaul of the networking site. In the next few months, LinkedIn promises to provide its users with a separate section on their resume where they can explain their employment gaps, with one of 10 reasons which include; parental care, family care hiatus and sabbatical. The new changes also include a section where users can indicate their preferred pronouns, something that has been hotly requested for many years.
In his statement, Mr Ayenew explained why it took the company so long to make these improvements. “Adding these changes has taken more time than we would like because of the degree of technology redesign it has required. The profile is very core and foundational to our entire ecosystem- so we have to be very careful and deliberate about the changes we make. We are finally getting to it- and we are excited to be rolling it out.”