PAUSING DOES HAVE CONSEQUENCES
Previous research317 has noted that women who pause their careers often re-enter to lower-paying jobs. Our research validated these findings. While a quarter reported they did not have to make any compromises when they re-entered the paid workforce, 48 percent indicated they were forced to take lower pay and 41 percent took a lower position.
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But, surprisingly, for nearly half our respondents this was part of their plan. Nearly 50 percent of women who paused their careers reported intentionally taking a less-demanding job with lower pay when they went back to the paid workforce. Why? A significant majority (64 percent) indicated they wanted control of [their] time and took a less demanding/lower-paying job because it would allow for greater flexibility.
Of the Women on the Rise respondents who paused their careers, 49 percent intentionally chose to relaunch to lower paying jobs with less responsibility because they wanted flexibility.
Yes, I entered with lower pay and lower responsibilities, but I also had the choice to take higher pay and responsibilities. Flexibility was more important to me.
We did not ask respondents to specifically tell us about the financial implications of their career pause; however, many did in the comments section. While they claimed they had no regrets, many commented on the negative financial ramifications of their pause.
I have done a number of things and all have worked out well financially. However, I am still not at the level of financial success (stockportfolio, executive bonuses, likely high-level salary at big company) that I would have attained had I not paused my career.
The Women on the Rise respondents may have innovated their own self-defined career path, but as many told us, the financial consequences are not insignificant.