Raising children. Starting a business. Running an artisan bakery. Pursuing your hobbies. Volunteering for a cause you believe in.
All these activities have two things in common: they are all reasons that we’ve seen people take career breaks from tech, and they all come with a host of transferrable skills that bring value when you choose to return to work.
Breaking the stigma
Traditionally, career breaks carried negative stereotypes amongst hiring managers. They were flippantly associated with a lack of drive, direction, or ability.
While progress is being made, some stigma around career breaks remains, as do plenty of outdated recruitment processes that hinder people looking to return to the workplace.
“A lot of talented people are being overlooked in traditional recruitment processes due to these gaps in their CVs.”
– Chris McKenzie, Head of Talent and D&I Champion at Daemon
Thankfully, more and more businesses are dropping these rigid beliefs, and are cottoning on to the real-world value and benefits of taking a career break that someone can bring back to the workplace.
This mindset shift will soon be seen as common business sense. Fixed and traditional recruitment criteria are becoming massively risky for companies. To wave away people with career breaks on their CV could mean waving away 84% of people who apply to their future jobs.
Companies shouldn’t, however, just be making the most of this potential purely because of statistics. The skills and experience you gain on a career break, regardless of what you took it for, can diversify the viewpoints and broaden the skillset in any given team.
“By virtue of their career break, [returners] bring with them a fresh perspective and an energy that will enthuse and empower businesses.”
– Charlie, Returner and Consultant Software Engineer
Transferable skills and the benefits of taking a career break
Career breaks are far from a holiday, and each one is as unique and complex as the person taking it.
The most common reason people take career breaks is some form of caring responsibility – like raising a family or looking after a partner. Studying, travelling, and career switches also crop up as reasons for taking time out.
No matter what reason you took a career break for, we guarantee you learned something new from your experience that you can take with you when you decide to return to work.
“I raised my daughter and worked as a domiciliary care worker. I developed excellent communication skills, patience, understanding, empathy and ability to adapt rapidly to situations.“
– Clive, Returner, Software Engineer at DabApps
People return to the workplace with improved communication, listening, negotiation, leadership, teamwork, and more. The reality is that this should fill you with confidence, rather than apprehension, when you talk about the gap in your CV.
“Returners usually have skills, sometimes unknown to them, that they have acquired in their previous work experience or during their break. Being technical skills or soft skills, those are transferable to modern technologies and day to day collaboration with colleagues, stakeholders or customers.”
– Mariot Chauvin, Director of Engineering – Product & Engineering, The Guardian
Career breaks aren’t always clean breaks either. Sometimes you even manage to find that bit of extra time to brush up on your technical skills. But even if you haven’t, don’t fret, as there are programmes out there–such as ours–that cater specifically for those with experience who want to re-skill themselves.
It’s been a long time coming, but the pandemic and the rise of flexible working have catapulted career break conversations to the forefront. We’re so happy it’s finally talked about, and that businesses are embracing breaks, looking into the gap and tapping into the talent and diversity that career returners bring.
BAE Systems Digital Intelligence is one organisation that understands the real value of returners, and the skills and experience they can bring back to the tech industry. That’s why we’re partnering up for our next programme – a free Java refresher course for experienced software engineers looking to make their way back into the workplace.
The course starts in August 2023 and ends with a guaranteed job interview with BAE themselves.
Ready to apply right now? Great, let’s get started. It’s time to embrace that career gap and get back into tech with all the skills you learned along the way.
“During my 10 year gap I sometimes dreamt that I was back working as a software engineer and I often woke up disheartened, as I always felt that I had reached a point of no return. But my dream turned into a beautiful reality.“
– Huma, Returner and Software Engineer, Booking.com