Overcome Common Barriers to Employment

Overcome Common Barriers to Employment

Tips to fix barriers to employment.

On the surface, the process of getting a job seems relatively uniform across industries: You find a job, you apply to the job, you land the job (or not). But barriers to employment make the playing field incredibly uneven for many people.

The term barriers to employment refers to anything that inhibits one’s ability to get and/or keep a job. When you really stop to think about it, there's a lot that can come between you and a steady paycheck. Check out this incomplete list of barriers to employment:

  • age
  • criminal record
  • disabilities (physical, mental, intellectual, developmental, or addiction-related)
  • domestic violence
  • education
  • employer bias
  • employment gaps
  • financial troubles
  • housing instability
  • inappropriate social media content
  • lack of available childcare
  • lack of skills and training
  • no prior work experience

It’s likely that you will experience one or more employment barriers at some point, as some are quite common. For example:

  • You want to work, but employers won’t accept your application because you have a criminal record.
  • You want a job as a lifeguard or interior designer or schoolteacher, but you don’t have the licensing credentials.
  • You want a job, but the company requires a high school diploma or a GED, and you have neither.

Don’t despair. Resources are available that are dedicated to removing these and other particular obstacles so you have a clearer shot at a new job. Read on to learn more about specific barriers to employment, as well as links to helpful resources.


It was frustrating when you had dreams of being a big money maker at the ripe age of 10, but couldn’t get adults to hire you. It’s even more confounding when you’re older, have loads of experience, but have difficulty convincing employers that you’re just as valuable as the latest crop of college grads. Learn how to stave off retirement and stay relevant in the workplace

Criminal Record

When it comes to barriers to employment that disrupt a lot of people, did you know that one in three Americans has a criminal record? That’s more than 70 million people. There are ways you can lessen the impact your rap sheet has on your candidacy. Read our article on job hunting with a criminal past, which includes tips on how to get a criminal record expunged.


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says one in four adults has some type of disability—that’s 61 million people—be it physical, mental, intellectual, developmental, or addiction-related. Learn your rights when it comes to disclosing a disability before, during, or after the job hunt. 


People often tout the benefits of staying in school—well, so does the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which annually releases data that shows how education affects earnings and unemployment rates. Finishing high school lowers one’s risk of unemployment by 3.7%. Learn how to get a GED and boost your career potential. 

Employment Gaps

If you took time off to raise a family, care for a loved one, volunteer, go back to school, or anything else, we share ways to make reentering the workforce less tricky.

Here’s just one example: We already know that children are career disruptors, but the Covid-19 pandemic further drastically reduced moms’ participation in the workforce. January 2021 saw a 6.4% drop in mothers’ active work status compared to January 2020. Parents, don’t let the job search intimidate you. Read these tips to learn how to structure your resume after a parental leave.

Financial Troubles

Debt is nobody's friend, and it can prove to be a stumbling block on your way to a new job. Money trips up a lot of people and some employers can see your financial instability as a reflection of your own lack of responsibility. If you're worried about a credit check for employment, there are steps you can take to turn your situation around.

Inappropriate Social Media Content

Let’s make this as simple and straightforward as possible: Yes, employers will check your social platforms as part of the screening process. Yes, inappropriate content can crush your chances of a job offer. So before you start job hunting, consider doing a social media clean up.

Lack of Childcare

Parenting itself is a full-time job, so when you want to go back to work, you'll need to find someone who can take care of your kids. Of course, this is easier said than done—especially in the post-Covid world. But there are resources out there that can help. Learn more about about affordable childcare options available to you so that you can return to your career.

Lack of Skills and Training

If you have neither the time nor the money to get a four-year degree, you can still acquire the qualifications for some really great (and great-paying) jobs. Ready to make some career moves that won't strain your lifestyle? Check out this article about easy certifications to get online. And if you're tight on funds, there are numerous resources that offer low-cost and free job training to strengthen your skillset.

No Work Experience

Not enough prior professional experience haunts plenty of job seekers. One way to urge employers to consider your application, regardless of what you lack? These tips can help you create a resume without experience. (Yes, it’s possible.)

Monster Can Clear a Path to Your Next Job

Barriers to employment don't have to keep you down. Want more career help? Create a free profile on Monster. We have lots of resources that can make your job search easier and less of a burden.