Mothers look to join workforce

Published: April 14, 2016

 photo courtesy of wikimedia commons Companies Like Google, Paypal and IBM are all looking for employees who are willing to take the initiative and enroll themselves in programs to increase their technical knowledge.

PHOTO COURTESY OF WIKIMEDIA COMMONS / COMPANIES like Google, Paypal and IBM are all looking for employees who are willing to take the initiative and enroll themselves in programs to increase their technical knowledge.

MIKE HANIFIN
Staff Writer

With the combination of a surprisingly low productivity rate on a global scale, a low unemployment rate and the growing need for talent among tech firms, some companies had to think outside of the box when recruiting new employees and ask themselves where they have still not looked. The solution turned out to be right in front of these companies’ faces in the form of a seriously undervalued source: women, or mothers, that wished to return to the workforce.

Companies including International Business Machines Corporation, Google, PayPal Holdings and many other start-ups, are using programs to bring this demographic of women back up to speed on the technology they need to know in order to be competitive in the workplace. These companies, and the tech industry in general, have been facing an on-going shortage of qualified job candidates, but are only now starting to realize that they have been missing out on what has been an under-used asset since about the late 1990s.

As it turns out, nearly 90 percent of women that leave their job to raise a family, or takes a necessary leave of some sort, attempt to resume their careers after their pause, but only 40 percent end up landing full-time jobs, 25 percent will take a part-time job and 10 percent will become self-employed. It is no wonder that these women had such a hard time returning to the workforce, especially if they worked in the tech industry. Due to the fast-changing nature of the tech industry, a huge skill gap can grow, in tandem with the fact that most firms would rather turn to younger/newer talent, as opposed to training the women that wish to return, so these programs are actually quite progressive as well.

These programs have helped many women land great full-time jobs including a former IBM engineer by the name of Lisa Stephens. Though Stephens was an exceptional employee when she initially started working, she took time off to raise her two sons for about 20 years, so when she decided to re-enter the workforce, she quickly came to the realization that the competencies she had learned in the ‘80s were no longer sufficient enough to land her full-time work. After this unfortunate epiphany she enrolled in an IT management master’s program, and with some hard work and dedication, she was finally able to land full-time employment once again.

Aside from the obvious progressiveness of this effort, this should also yield many other beneficial effects for the U.S. economy. An already low employment rate will decrease even further, the average household and disposable income will increase, the increased number of sufficient talent should help the tech industry advance more quickly and ultimately help raise what has been an embarrassingly low productivity rate for years.

Contact the writer: michael.hanifin@scranton.edu

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