According to the BPCE L’Observatoire study on caregivers conducted by BPCE economists, the fact of changing jobs, switching to part-time employment, turning down an offer… are the type of decisions liable to have a negative impact on caregivers’ careers, leading to a series of missed opportunities that affect women more than men.

Being a caregiver can have a negative impact on the development an individual’s career: 44% of working caregivers feel that their situation as a caregiver has required them to turn down professional opportunities, such as a promotion, a change of position, or a new job offer. 21% of this group consider their work providing care to be the main reason for missed professional opportunities, while 23% feel that it is one reason among others. Significantly more self-employed people consider themselves to have been penalized than salaried employees (55% versus 39%).

44 % of working caregivers have been obliged to turn down professional opportunities

In addition to missing out on professional opportunities, the fact of becoming a caregiver can require individuals to change jobs in favor of a professional activity compatible with the constraints of caregiving. This is true for 22% of working caregivers. Here too, more self-employed people than salaried employees say they have changed jobs to align their professional activities with their caregiving responsibilities (34% vs. 17%).

In the long term, these choices can affect the career development of the individuals concerned, something that has a greater impact on women than on men. While the proportion of working men and women providing care is roughly the same, the degree of women’s involvement is greater: they are more likely to hold part-time jobs, and are more likely to stop or suspend their professional activities to take care of a loved one.

There are several ways to ensure that a person’s career development is not penalized by being, or having been, a caregiver.

The first is to rethink career trajectories, i.e. to accept that professional careers are not linear and take steps to ensure lifelong professional development. With the extension of working time and the retirement age being pushed back to 64, we need to view careers from a long-term perspective. This has a virtuous feedback effect on caregivers: knowing that it’s possible bounce back after being a caregiver can make it easier for individuals to speak out and organize their professional lives in a way that preserves a work/life balance and, consequently, their health.

The second approach is to better recognize caregivers’ skills. Becoming a caregiver means developing unparalleled organizational skills, know-how in managing priorities, developing a resistance to stress, the ability to listen and to display empathy… Some caregivers now include their experience on their CVs, notably to justify a period of inactivity. It’s up to recruiters to make the most of this experience, and for employers to take account of this when planning an individual’s career trajectory.