We know that being a stay-at-home parent is a more-than-full-time job.
Over the course of a single day, you're an educator, doctor, nutritionist, housekeeper, referee, chef, chauffeur, life coach, entertainer, and crisis negotiator, among other things. You're mom.
We get it. But many people and organizations don't. It can be hard to explain a gap in your job history—because some people still don't get that while you weren't getting paid during that time period, you were definitely working.
That's why we're thrilled about a new change to LinkedIn's online resume: the professional social network company is adding "stay-at-home mom" and "stay-at-home dad" as job titles. They're also removing an old requirement that said job titles needed to be linked to an employer.
This is a huge step in the right direction for caregivers and families. It will make it easier for parents to create resumes that genuinely reflect their lives. It will make it easier for parents to network and to get back into the workforce.
More than 2.3 million women were forced out of the workforce in the last year, thanks to COVID-19. This change will hopefully help women get back to work—at a time when we need it most.
LinkedIn made these changes following the publication of an article on Medium that criticized the social network's lack of profile options for people who have been forced out of the workforce.
"Strikingly, there are zero pre-populated options on LinkedIn to identify maternity leave, parental leave, adoption leave, sick leave, bereavement leave, elderly care leave, or for long term injury/illness, education/re-training, volunteering, long term travel, a gap year, a sabbatical — or for a pandemic," writes Heather Bolen.
"LinkedIn's silence is tantamount to a 'don't ask, don't tell policy,' in which employers and prospective employees dance around the topic of family, thereby preventing meaningful conversations about workplace policies that could better support the hiring, productivity, job satisfaction, and retention of employees who are also primary caretakers."
Bef Ayenew, director of engineering at LinkedIn, responded to Bolen's article through Fortune.
"I wholeheartedly agree that we need to normalize employment gaps on the profile to help reframe hiring conversations," he told the website. He confirmed the company's decision to add "stay-at-home mom" and "stay-at-home dad" as job titles.
LinkedIn also announced several other changes that are in the works, including a dedicated field for users to add their gender pronouns.
"More than 50% (55%) of job seekers agree that gender is an important aspect of their identity, both in and out of the workplace, and 70% of job seekers believe it's important that recruiters and hiring managers know their gender pronoun," says the company's website.
We love this!
These changes are important—they will create a better reflection of modern parenting and our workforce. If you've taken time off from your career to care for a child or loved one, you shouldn't face unnecessary barriers when you'd like to return to work.
These seemingly small changes could have a big impact for users.
Like we said, we know that being a stay-at-home parent is a full-time job.
It's about time that companies like LinkedIn recognize it, too.