The economic recession has caused numerous layoffs for both moms and dads. But according to a recent article in The Wall Street Journal, succeeding in the job hunt may be particularly difficult for men:

“Compared with at-home moms, who outnumber them by more than 5 to 1, at-home dads face a bigger stigma among would-be employers, and they often have fewer opportunities to network from home. Also, they are returning to a labor market where men have suffered major setbacks; heavy job losses in male-dominated industries and middle management have led pundits to label the latest downturn the "he-cession."

And for those who are successful, many will be taking on different jobs than they’ve held before.

“Recruiters say dads should consider full-time temp work, or even a career change, because many of the executive or middle-management jobs they had aren't coming back.” 

Several men quoted in the article confessed that having listed their home duties on a resume, or letting that information come out in a job interview, turned out to be a bad idea. Interviewers were more interested in casual talk about their “Mr. Mom” experience, rather than focusing on work skills and professional background—leading to the opportunity for the men to talk about their experience, but leaving little opportunity to actually get the job.

The recession has brought about a reversal of roles for many families. Some families have made the decision for Mom to become the breadwinner, changing places with a dad who used to bring home the primary paycheck. Even in 2010, stay-at-home fathers are by far in the minority, and for many the fact that they are unable to be the financial providers for their family is difficult to accept.

In 2007, there were nearly 160,000 stay-home-dads, compared with several million stay-at-home moms. And while the networks of support for them continue to be far outweighed by those for mothers, men have formed playgroups and support groups as a benefit to both them and their children.

But for many, staying at home isn’t a permanent solution. A 2009 poll found that 31% of dads would opt to stay at home if their significant other earned more money, significantly fewer than the nearly 50% in 2005 that said they would stay at home if their finances allowed. The large decrease is especially significant in light of the fact that so many men now are having trouble finding work after being home only a short time.

It’s a shame that, for men or women, time as a stay-at-home parent could be a detriment, rather than an asset, to landing employment, but it is interesting that this time at home may be more of a problem for men.

And since returning to the work force after caring for children at home can also be especially difficult for moms, the apparent discrimination—intentional or not—in the rehiring process, may not be aimed at men, but any parent who chooses, for a time, to stay at home while raising their children.