Snap Poll: Are sabbaticals acceptable?

Are Indian employers as open to sabbaticals while hiring talent as their Western counterparts?

Vote & tell us if the career sabbatical has come of age in India or is there still a long way to go.

In the West, a sabbatical or an unconventional career are widely accepted. Has Indian industry matured enough for this to be true in India as well? Share your take and view what others have to say.
  • No, we have a long way to go (61%, 389 Votes)
  • There is some change but not enough (31%, 200 Votes)
  • Yes, we have evolved (8%, 46 Votes)

Total Voters: 635

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36 thoughts on “Snap Poll: Are sabbaticals acceptable?

  1. We indians are niether innovative nor ready to accept change easily.We hardly have any inventions to our credit.We even refuse to see Logic.Take longer than required to accept the change.

    1. @Girish K Dora

      History speaks to illuminate the connection between India and innovation. As far as corporate India is concerned it is taking the route expected of a growing progressive economy.

      Newer times will bring newer possibilities and with it the chance for a novel outlook. Sabbaticals today are a more stark reality than they used to be once. Their value and importance in the minds of various professionals varies as is true with most career phenomena.

  2. We believe ‘change is constant’ only in business but not else where.

    This Innovation is currently under long vacation

    This is even true with ‘truly global Indian entities’

    1. i believe even in business it is difficult for anyone to accept change. We might need to relook at our approach but the approach never changes, nor do we. These changes in turn completely impact the way we feel.

  3. Indian Corporates do have policies on these lines ; but unfortunately neither HR managers or functional managers have the heart to accept sabbatical as a valid and necessary break ; this creates an artificial scenario as though we are matured but still in our old conservative administrative style .

  4. Indian entities believe ‘change is constant’ only in business but not else where.

    This innovation is currently under a long vacation

    This is true even with ‘truly global Indian entities’. Indian entities do not encourage. The career gaps seen as inefficiency/attitude problem of the person. I believe it is atitude problem of entities.

    1. @Raj Kumar

      Corporates expect reasoning for the time taken off careers by prospective employees. More often than not professionals who have been on sabbaticals fail to convey which leads to ambiguity.

      We are hopeful that once sabbaticals for personal growth, not just education, become an accepted norm such miscommunication will stop and the true value of sabbaticals will emerge

  5. We, Indians,are non thinkers,has no innovations,are blind followers.Moreso at higher levels.We are 200 years backward always.

  6. I personally believe that a sabbatical or an unconventional careers are still not that much easily acceptable in India as of today. Ofcourse, one or two corporates have started accepting this concept very recently in India but not as wholeheartedly as in western countries. It seems, we are not prepared to accept any change so soon.

  7. No, we are thousand mile from this mindset. When I moved out of my Country MD role to a teaching/consulting role, I was seen as a failure and then after two years when I wanted to come back as an executive, the sabbatical was not acceptable for most of the recruiting agency. Now I am back at work as a Principal at one of the largest retailer ($60bn) in Chicago and hope to go back to India soon as an MD, if Indian corporates chooses to hire me back.

  8. an unconventional career change is by & large a matter of choice of an individual. How the Industry perceives it, in India is secondary. If the individual has consciously chosen this,then the reaction/response of the industry has to be acknowledged as an outcome.That’s when the maturity of the response can truly be assessed.
    Further research into why do people take to unconventional career changes/sabbats must be delved into ?
    why is the trend increasing in India ?
    which sectors of the Industry are leaders of such practices apart from IT where in the financial cushion is adequate & does not drastically change lifestyles ?
    What are the demographic profiles of those taking to such changes ?

  9. Having a qualification of an mba and 14 years of experience, am still struggling to be placed for a regular corporate profile after a small break and been working as a mktg freelancer in mumbai now. So for my vote that we still have a long way to go…Its been

  10. I have personal experience in this matter. After selling my small IT business in 2007, I took a sabbatical for a full 3 years – spending time with my 2 sons, wife and 85 year old mother, besides pursuing a whole lot of personal interests. In 2010 middle I felt I was ready for ‘getting back’ to a dull time professional assignment, albeit with a location constraint (only Bangalore!). Have still not been able to find what I consider an appropriate assignment. One of the reasons, I believe, is that my 3 year sabbatical is not being properly understood by prospective employers.

  11. As Indians we are averse to taking risks and want to live in a comfort zone. Unless the mind set changes and we open ourselves to accept the challenge of an unconventional career we may not see much headway except for a few about whom we hear once in a while.

  12. A sabbatical here in India is still not looked at anything positive. We as industry people have a very very long way to go.

    basic needs of life like that taking leave for taking care of your own child is also not looked upto anything positive.
    Getting back to work becomes diificult as also your career goes behind several years.
    I am currently facing that problem after my second child’s birth. I had a wonderful career before my kids were born.

  13. The far and few cases are seen only in MNC’s and creative fields. In other industries it is rather seen with suspicion rather accepting it prima facie.

    Even in MNC’s those who take these decision’s are fairly senior executives.

  14. It’s indeed very sad and unfortunate that sabbaticals are seen as a taboo in the Indian scenario. In fact, corporates do tend to lose out on potentially talented candidates with good experience, very appropriate skill sets and capabilities , just because of a “sabbatical” label.

    It is very ironical that even corporate groups who claim to be very modern in their outlook , and contemporary in the career section of their website , actually end up screening out applicants who’ve taken a sabbatical earlier for very genuine reasons.

    It seems to be a long way to go ….High time HR managers learn to recognize true talent keeping biases aside….

  15. The sense of financial insecurity prevents people from taking sabbaticals. However the purpose of sabbatical is self renewel. Those who remain in one place doing one thing tend to become frogs in a well. Those who are confident enough to explore their horizons may possibly earn more during a ” sabbatical ” which many times turns out to be a more exciting pursuit and profession. Am a practitioner.

  16. I am very thankful that this topic is out for discussion. I have personally had to explain my sabbatical quite unconvincingly to employers in India. I had been abroad for 20 years and wanted to take a break for a year when I came back to India. Believe me it has proved to be too costly for me. Guess it came as a rude shock that we are so biased!

  17. I took a sabbatical starting Nov, and started applying for jobs in the end of December thinking that I will get one probably by Feb. I have had a couple of conversations with good brands but it seems to be difficult to explain to them as to why I left without a job in hand. SABBATICAL is an alien term and people don’t trust you in India. Now I am worried about the decision I took. My fault but I think our country’s service sector needs to mature a lot.

  18. Though am tempted to largely agree wt t above, I wld rather consider both sides. Depending on t industry, change is so quick that before v knw it our methods & concepts need review, upgradation and many times complete transformation. Though v can catch up given our experience and expertise,organisations may not wish to bear t time and cost of that period. Sabaticals for higher education or upgradation may b more acceptable by recruiters than any other reason. It may b a good idea to upgrade one’s knowlegde and do relevant courses even when one is on a BREAK. This way one can also network with people in similar functions / roles or industries.

  19. A very very long way to go, indeed. Being a recruiter and also being the one who has not done things traditional, i feel for the issue. Most of the corporate have a fixed mindset and aberrations are not at all looked positively. Even otherwise, we do not actually see “innovation” as the outcome of many “failures”. Being steady and in confirmation have always been an “in thing” in Indian recruitment industry and in my opinion, it will continue to be the same. Some of the start ups may be more modern in the way they recruit people and also the kind of people that they recruit but those are few and far between.

  20. From personal experience I can say that we have a long way to go. Surprisingly even the Head Hunters/Consultants tend to stay away as soon as they learn that you are not employed (in my case since last 6 months)…….. maybe indirectly thats due to the Organisation’s/Recruiters/H.R Exec & Owners views abt the same. Everyone need to take a subjective view, rather than just strike of such candidates from their Short List.

  21. Sabbaticals are frowned upon !! People who do the unthinkable and take time out for personal reasons face setbacks in career and many times have to work where they can , rather than choose the profession that fires them. Making a career change is also prone to risk , as you may wish to come back to your previous line of work , but are viewed as fickle minded by the prospective employees.
    Mostly the scenario is thus , but the fact that we are even willing to talk about it in such forums, indicates a slight shift towards changing mindsets.

    1. @Archana Pant

      The realization that firing the creative spirit of your team is as essential as the next bonus is swiftly on the rise among corporates.

      We will agree that it hasn’t become the norm yet. The perception of a professional on sabbatical will need a marked change that can only be achieved with time. We are glad that you appreciate this topic on the forum.

  22. I have experienced that most Indian Corporates are hypocrites when it comes to hiring unconventionally. On one hand they promote to say they would like innovative professionals and on the other they deny entry to them.
    Also, they are not confident of their retention strategy and the skill/job match with the skill sets. Why did the new joiner leave? is the dreaded question for most of the hiring managers.

    Its a long way to go for us to shift from Implementation to Innovation based culture.

  23. Indian pyche is in general very conservative. Corporates, individuvals, groups all have ingrained concepts about almost everything under the sky. To do something different is taboo, to accept mutually exclusive ideas/opinions is not common place. Having said this i would say indians are much less materialistic than our western counterparts, on account of religion, upbringing or society. This trait i believe makes us more compassionate and hence pliable to accept divergent views. Times are changing and i believe critical mass of belivers will be reached which would make unconvetional hiring a reality.

  24. Yes, we in India are still in the very early stages of career development, this is mainly due to orthodox behaviour of the top mangement team and the older generation still in power does not look at this in the right angle. We need change and every Indian in India does not seem to do his/her best, but when he/she goes out of the country of origin – they work with a great mind set – cause they know the issues they will face if they do not prove themselves…

  25. Indians are long way to go on unconventional career. MNCs such as IBM and Accenture accepts unconventional career in developed countries like US & Europe. In India, same companies doesn’t accept unconventional career. Its to do with Companies Decision Makers who doesn’t want to bring such kind of working model into their territory and doesn’t want to take the risk in implementing it.

  26. Sabbatical!!!!!!

    Whats that? If you r out of job for any reson its perceived to be as you have been useless and have been asked to leave or rather have been thrown out of your previous job. And if you happen to be in late thirties & at mid level positions then getting a desired job Vs remuneration is totally out of question, you will have to sacrifice a lot and start totally fresh.

    Hence Sabbaticasl r only for the Dares twho would like to indulge in it and start a fresh.

    Good luck to this breed of people.

  27. We can never catch up. And if in case there is a gap in not getting an job , it becomes wider and wider and finally a hell to come out from. Even though you are competent, people dare to give you the opportunity because of the closed mindset.

  28. In character-based hiring, it really doesn’t matter where the candidate was all these years…Today, Indian companies look at competition to fight with and try to manage environment outside the business like market share, evaluation of the business by an outside body and as a result try to adopt strategy of the top player & the like. When the individuality of the business changes from common values & external factors to the intrinsic values of the organisation, then probably the paradigm shift in hiring happens. Sabbatical is only one of them.

  29. Inspite of having about 10 years of work experience, just bcoz i had to take a short sabbatial due to personal reasons, now when i am ready to accept new challenges with double the enthusiasm, every organization where i apply is too much keen to know about the 5 months sabbatical rather than the 10 years of expereince i have put up.. very very disappointing !!

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