Professional women have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic and the changing employment environment. In partnership with Dress for Success®, the leading global nonprofit that provides a variety of services including career coaching, peer-based learning experiences, skill-based workshops and networking, and professional attire to help support women’s job search and interview process, Robert Half recently kicked off our 2022 Suit Drive Re-Imagined campaign.
The mission of Dress for Success is to empower women of all backgrounds and ages to achieve economic independence, providing them with a network of support and the development tools they need to succeed. As part of the campaign, Diane Domeyer, senior vice president and managing director at Robert Half, presented the virtual workshop "Career Development in the New Business Environment," featuring advice and tips based on her 30 years of experience in the talent solutions industry and as a working mother.
Here are some highlights from Diane’s presentation.
What are some common misconceptions about career changes?
One of the biggest career myths is that without a clear step-by-step path, you’re not going to achieve your goals. The truth is that for most people careers are a journey and can have lots of twists and turns. It is still important to set long-term goals, but just understand that there may be surprises along your journey. My career at Robert Half is a good example. Over the last 30 years, I’ve had 12 different roles and moved in many different directions. Often those opportunities came during different stages of my life and were based on how I wanted to balance my career ambition with being a working mother. But each experience allowed me to have the career I wanted at that time.
How have employees’ attitudes changed over the past few years?
The workplace changed drastically during the pandemic. Today, many candidates are re-assessing their career options and looking for new opportunities. According to a Robert Half survey, 57% of employees said their feelings toward work had changed due to the pandemic. So if you’re re-evaluating your career, you’re not alone. And of those employees, 40% said they’ll prioritize personal life over work moving forward, and 33% want to pursue a more meaningful or fulfilling position. Our recruiters see this every day. So many individuals today are looking for roles with organizations whose mission and purpose align with their values.
How has the pandemic impacted career opportunities for women?
Employers are still optimistic about adding staff and many plan to hire for vacated spots. In some professions, where there is significant demand but not enough qualified candidates, corporate employers are offering signing bonuses to attract new employees.
In addition, companies are more open than before to non-traditional employment arrangements like remote and hybrid work. Even before the pandemic, it was clear that having flexibility with remote and hybrid work was becoming more important to employees. The past two years have been one of the greatest proofs of concept as to how successfully these arrangements can work for certain individuals. The hybrid environment is here, and we expect it to stay.
Can hybrid work help professionals achieve a better work-life balance?
With the hybrid work environment taking hold in many organizations, workers have changed their expectations. They want more options that allow them to fulfill their obligations and interests inside and outside of work. Companies are responding by being more flexible and creative in offering arrangements that employees are asking for such as:
- Windowed working with employees completing assignments outside traditional work hours
- Compressed work weeks where employees work the expected number of hours over fewer days
- Job sharing, where two employees share one job
- Health and wellness programs
What in-demand skills do candidates need to succeed in a hybrid or remote environment?
With teams spread out geographically or working hybrid schedules between in-office and home, managers are looking for candidates with soft skills like communication, adaptability, strategic thinking, planning and organization, and creativity.
As technology continues to advance, job seekers need to keep pace with others in their company and professional fields, so digital literacy skills are in high demand. These everyday technical skills are key to allowing job seekers to pursue careers with more flexibility and higher compensation. Some examples include email marketing, electronic filing and documentation, navigating virtual meetings, using graphic design and presentation software, online research and social media skills.
How can working women position themselves to get the careers they want?
Assess your marketability – you may find you have more options than you think. Make a list of major projects you’ve been part of over the years and the skills you used to bring these to successful completion. Think about your strengths and weaknesses, and what new technical and soft skills you can learn to help you branch into new areas. Remember, even if you’re changing fields, the skills you’ve gained are frequently transferable.
Here are a few more tips:
- Informational job interviews and other in-person meetings are making a comeback, and they are a great way to explore new career options
- Consider contract positions to sample various companies and work environments
- Consider working with a recruiter. They can use their expertise to help you research new companies or professional fields and understand your value in today’s job market
Where can job seekers find resources to help them in their career journey?
Robert Half has some great downloadable resources and career support resources on our website. Our annual Salary Guide has salary and hiring insights for marketing, creative, legal, technology, finance, accounting, administrative and customer service jobs. And our mobile app is an outstanding tool where candidates can upload a resume and start their job search. We also have recruiters who can help job seekers find the right position, connect with employers, or provide insight into market demand. And the Robert Half Blog has in-depth content on all aspects of navigating careers.
Follow Diane Domeyer on LinkedIn.