Editorial Team

Women don multiple roles and have traditionally been the bedrock of the family and the nation’s economic growth as well. According to a report by McKinsey Global Institute, it has been estimated that by giving equal opportunities to women, the country’s GDP can add $770 billion by 2025. This indicates the importance of having a women workforce for the country’s GDP to go up. Repeatedly over the years, women have ventured into lucrative markets and businesses and reiterated that they are adept and successful not just in the entrepreneurial space but also in predominantly male-dominated professional fields as well.

Despite women rising to the top of their careers, it’s not easy for them to return to their professional careers after taking a sabbatical. There are a host of challenges that they have to face ranging from skill gaps to pay cuts, absence of a strong network, and lack of confidence among others. The most common reasons for women to take career breaks are mostly for personal reasons such as pregnancy, childbirth, motherhood, or taking care of ailing parents. However, despite the challenges, women have been taking active decisions to return to work and commence the second phase of their career following a sabbatical.

It is a known fact that having women in the workforce has a positive impact and greatly benefits companies. To encourage women to pursue their careers after a sabbatical, some of the top companies have launched some inspiring return programs to make their comeback seamless and convenient. Not all companies have such return programs. One key element of a successful return from a sabbatical is being brought up to date with the latest know-how and being equipped with the current skill sets. Fortunately, with the influx of edtech companies, digital learning has become mainstream and a boon for professionals to enhance the skills and stay relevant. There are multiple benefits for learners: from applicable content and mentoring to even group networking, peer-to-peer interactions, and job placements. Edtech companies can therefore provide the full 360 support to a learner returning to work after a sabbatical, which can make all the difference.

Mayank Kumar, Co-founder and MD, upGrad, commented, “Traditionally, there has been scepticism around whether it’s possible for women to build lucrative careers after a sabbatical. I know for a fact this is possible and have witnessed some of these first hand. For instance, multiple women learners at upGrad have asserted the benefits of upskilling and how it has helped them to drive meaningful career outcomes with exceptional salary hikes despite returning from a sabbatical.”

Mr. Kumar, Further added, “One of the heartening success stories is of the woman upGrad learner Kavitha M Srinivas who successfully returned to IT after a career gap of 13 + years. She was in a village farming and working with the rural women in a stitching unit when she decided to upskill herself with a data science course. She started with a Post Graduate Diploma in Data Science (PGDDS) and then enrolled for MSc in Data Science from upGrad. She completed these programs with a distinction and is currently working as a Project Manager with a global IT firm. The second example is of Mrs. Shalini Ravi who made a comeback after a 7 year-long sabbatical. Mrs. Ravi did a PG diploma course in Data Science which helped her to upskill and get a job as a Data Scientist from being a Data Analyst. A third example is of Ms. Purnima Tomar who received a whopping salary hike of more than 40% following the completion of a similar course in Data Science. So this is very much possible, and there are statistics to back this trend. At upGrad, 1/3rd of total learners are women and out of that segment 1/3rd of women learners are taking tech-driven programs like DS, ML, AI, etc.”

Upskilling comes with a plethora of benefits that add to the growth curve, helps to acquire new skills, stay relevant and ensure a boost in employability and morale. India has the potential to boost its GDP by providing ample and equal opportunities to women in the workforce. Aside from the value it adds to the economy, women being part of the workforce also has many social and personal benefits. A gap in their career does not erase their years of experience.

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