Want to Retain Working Parents? The Key is Flexibility and Not Salary

September 19, 20168:15 am1946 views

Want to retain working parents? The interest in work flexibility for working parents has increased dramatically in the past several decades.

Now that both parents work full-time in nearly half of two-parent households in U.S, and single parents account for 26% of family households with children, flexible work arrangements are one of the most critical components to making the work/life juggle possible.

According to a recent FlexJobs survey of nearly 1,200 parents with children 18 and younger living at home, work flexibility (84%) and work/life balance (80%) are the most important factors when parents consider a job opportunity.

Parents placed these ahead of other factors, such as salary (75%), health insurance (42%), company reputation (39%), and retirement benefits (29%) when evaluating a job prospect.

The FlexJobs survey shows that 91% of working parents said having children living at home affects their interest in a flexible job. Only 4% of parents are very concerned that having a flexible work arrangement will hurt their career progression.

“These survey findings indicate that work flexibility is not just a convenience for working parents, but a real necessity,” said Sara Sutton Fell, founder and CEO of FlexJobs. “In fact, nearly 40% have actually left a job because of the lack of work flexibility options, and an additional 20% are actively looking for new work because of it.”

Work-life balance was main reason why working parents seek flexible work (84%), followed by family (83%), time savings (45%), and commuting stress (43%).

In addition to paying for basic necessities, child-related costs, and savings for retirement, 56% of parents say they work so they can travel, and because they are passionate about success in their career (46%). They also cite wanting to contribute to charity (27%) and to pay for continuing education for themselves (26%).

See: Working Parents Feel Burnout at Work: Seek Better Work-Life Balance

Additional findings from the survey uncovered other benefits of work flexibility, including:

  • Parents want to work and are confident in their dual parent/employee roles:
    • The majority of parents report “needing” to work, but 68%—more than two out of three parents—also report “wanting” to work.
    • 91% are entirely sure that they can simultaneously be both great employees and great parents.
    • 8% are hopeful that they can simultaneously be both great employees and great parents.
  • Increased parental involvement at schools:
    • 93% of working parents indicated that flexible work arrangements would increase their volunteerism at their children’s schools or organized activities.
    • Of those, 56% are parents who said they would start volunteering
    • Another 34% who already currently volunteer said they would be able to volunteer more.
  • Improved health and savings:
    • 98% think having a job with flexibility would have a positive impact on their overall quality of life.
    • 87% think it would allow them to be less stressed.
    • 78% think it would make them healthier.
    • 88% think it would save them money.

The most in-demand type of flexible work arrangement for working parents is full-time telecommuting (89%), but flexible schedule (74%), part-time schedule (51%), partial telecommuting (49%), alternative schedule (49%), and freelance (42%) are also in demand.

From recruiting and retention perspectives, it is costly to any company for more than half of their working parent employees to leave or consider leaving, especially when 86% of working parents would be more loyal to an employer if they simply had flexible work options.

Also read: Long working hours keeping Singaporean families apart: Survey

Image credit: LinkedIn

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