Returning to the workforce after an extended absence doesn’t necessarily put you at a disadvantage, a recent U.S. survey from indicates.

Forty-five per cent of workers who returned to the workforce in the last 12 months after taking at least one year off said they found a job in less than one month.

One-third (33 per cent) said they found a job in one to six months while only 14 per cent said their job hunt lasted more than a year.


“This goes back to the labour shortage factor in the job market today,” said Rosemary Haefner, vice-president of human resources at “Employers are struggling to find skilled labour and are recruiting qualified employees before the competition has a chance to do so. Even in a tighter job market, skilled workers re-entering the workforce after a leave of absence can find good opportunities and competitive compensation packages.”

When asked to identify the main challenge in finding a job when they returned to the workforce, 37 per cent of workers reported having to prove themselves all over again while 24 per cent said it was difficult to explain the gap in employment. Twenty per cent pointed to a lack of required skills or education as the main obstacle in finding a job while 18 per cent cited the competition with younger workers. Nine per cent said they perceived a concern amongst employers that they would once again leave the workforce.

reasons to leave

When asked about the primary motivator for taking an extended period of time off from work, workers reported:

  • Medical reasons (17 per cent).

  • To raise a family (15 per cent).

  • To relax and enjoy life (13 per cent).

  • To continue education (9 per cent).

  • To move to a new location (9 per cent).

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