Have a Job to Fill? Why Don’t You Give Family Caregivers a chance?
As businesses in the United States struggle to fill open positions, they may be overlooking a large group who is looking for work or getting back into the workforce.
The Harvard Business School’s Project on Managing the Future of Work, and Accenture, a consulting firm, published a study called, “Hidden Workers: Untapped Talent” that identified how many caregivers are looking to be employed. The study projected there are more than 27 million of these “hidden workers” in the United States who are unemployed, underemployed, or are working part-time looking for full-time employment.
When you go deeper into the people looking for work, you find that a large sub-group is family caregivers. A Rosalynn Carter Institute for Caregivers national survey, “Working While Caring,” says nearly two in 10 employees were forced to leave their jobs to focus on their caregiving responsibilities.
“In that situation, people are being forced to make difficult decisions, especially during COVID-19,” said Alan Hubbard, NTI’s chief operating officer. “Often it can come down to working or staying home to take care of a loved one. This can put them into a difficult financial situation.”
Working remotely or having a flexible schedule can be two ways to help keep family caregivers at work.
“With a shortage of workers, companies have to be more understanding of people who have been out of the workforce to be caregivers,” said Hubbard. “You don’t want to lose out on having quality and talented people working with you.”
When hidden workers, including family caregivers, go back to work, they are often faced with the obstacle of having been out of the workforce. With the automation of reading resumes, job seekers, including family caregivers, with gaps can be left out of the hiring process.
“This can put family caregivers at a disadvantage,” said Hubbard. “Companies need to look beyond the time away and understand that if they don’t, they are missing out on talented employees.”
An article in Forbes Magazine said companies know that this is a problem.
"Employers and hiring managers are missing out on potentially great employees by using AI-driven screening tools," said Ramona Schindelheim, editor-in-chief of WorkingNation, a nonprofit focused on helping Americans get jobs and stay employed, in the Forbes article. "Take, for example, filters that leave people without college degrees out of the candidate pool. A degree is not the same thing as a skill. Your experience as a problem-solver or a leader isn't determined by a piece of paper."
(A nonprofit organization, NTI helps Americans with disabilities, family caregivers, and veterans find at-home employment working in call centers for Fortune 500 companies, government organizations, and large and small businesses. You can register for free training and job placement services at www.ntiathome.org.)