New website helps professional women rejoin the workforce

Global Business

New website helps professional women rejoin the workforce

Women who take time off to care for children or elderly parents run the risk of having difficulty finding work when they are ready to return. If they can find work, the pay will likely be lower than when they left. A new website is trying to improve those odds by linking college educated women with companies.

CCTV America’s Karina Huber has more.

It’s not easy juggling work with taking care of children. But the alternative — taking time away from your career to raise your kids — carries big risks.

According to the Center for Talent Innovation, 90 percent of women who take a break from their career to care for kids or their parents wish to return to work. But only 40 percent of them are able to find full-time employment.

It’s a statistic career coach Roy Cohen said hits high achievers hard.

“They’re ambitious. They’re competitive and they’re not as comfortable dealing with rejection so when you have that collective rejection over an extended job search it can be very exhausting psychologically and emotionally,” Cohen said.

Jennifer Gefsky, co-founder of Apres, a website that links college educated women with employers, can relate. The former lawyer took eight years off to raise her kids. When she tried to return to work, the lack of opportunities astounded her.

“I don’t regret opting out but I underestimated the penalty that women have to basically endure for taking time out to care for their family members,” Gefsky said. 

Her response was to start Apres, which helps women in similar situations. The website features success stories and tips to help women regain their confidence and connects them with potential employers. 

Less than a month into its launch, it had almost 10,000 members and 20 companies on board. It is currently in talks with 250 other companies.

Gefsky said the timing of the launch couldn’t be better.

“Everyone is experiencing gender diversity issues in their company,” Gefsky said. “Everyone wants to address it so we’re just providing, I think, a really great resource — another tool that companies can use to help them with a gender diversity problem.”

She said she believes it can also help companies recruit younger women who she said increasingly care about gender diversity and want to support companies that will support them if they take a break.