LinkedIn recognises stay-at-home mums in latest profile changes: Now an official job title

Picture: Getty Images
Picture: Getty Images 

LinkedIn has officially recognised what mums have known all along: 'Stay-at-home-mum' is an official job.

The social media employment networking platform has added the job to its options for job titles for digital resumes.

The change was made both to acknowledge the role and to make it easier for caregivers to describe any extended leave or 'gaps' from paid employment.

'Stay-at-home-parent', 'stay-at-home-dad, 'caretaker', 'mum' and 'dad' are other new options offered by the site. Previously one of the only options available was 'homemaker'. 

The changes are especially pertinent given women globally have been disproportionately affected by COVID-19 in terms of employment, losing jobs at a higher - and faster rate than men. Both due to competing demands of childcare and work, and because women were more likely to work in industries hit hardest. 

According to Dr Sue Williamson, Senior Lecturer at the School of Business from UNSW Canberra, these women will find additional challenges re-entering the workforce.

"Many of the essential services such as retail and hospitality, which are areas that were shut down during lockdown, are all female-dominated. Particular industries, including childcare and healthcare, also have a higher ratio of female employees and those industries were hard hit," Dr Williamson said.

"Similarly, the casual labour force is dominated by women who as casual workers were excluded from JobKeeper, and many will find it harder to get back into the labour market."

LinkedIn's changes were first reported by Fortune Magazine, who contacted the platform in response to an op-ed on Medium, which highlighted its lack of options to describe leave taken by women.

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In particular, it noted its lack of options to nominate any maternal or parental leave for employment gaps. Prior to the changes any job entry also had to be linked to an existing company or employer.

The piece, written by Heather Bolen, which has since gone viral, detailed the challenges women face in returning from any leave taken to care for their children, adding this was not valued by many employers.

Citing a Harvard study, Bolen said that many employers viewed SAHMs as: less 'capable, reliable, deserving of a job or committed to work'. 

She added they were also 'half as likely' to get a call back for a job or interview than a parent who had been made redundant, arguing LinkedIn were squandering an opportunity to open bigger conversations on the issue by reducing parental leave to 'homemaker'. 

"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," Bolen wrote.

As Fortune reported, LinkedIn's director of engineering Bef Ayenew said the network agreed that they needed to 'normalise employment gaps' on user profiles to better position them for re-employment.

While the changes were described to Fortune as a 'stop-gap' solution, they said further changes would be coming. Including the option to separate resume sections around employment gaps, which would sit apart from paid employment. 

Users will also be able to display any pronoun preferences on their profile, with the company saying this reflected user demand.

"More than 50 per cent of job seekers agree that gender is an important aspect of their identity, both in and out of the workplace, and 70 per cent of job seekers believe it's important that recruiters and hiring managers know their gender pronoun," they said in a statement announcing the changes.

As Ayenew told Fortune, the platform felt that pronouns were a 'core part of our identity' and believed that 'clarity about someone's gender pronouns is very, very important'.