Amid back-to-school season, don’t abandon your working parent population

As working parents juggling their own work hours, back-to-school obligations and other childcare challenges, their employers have left them cold.

Since the pandemic began, millions of working parents have left the labor market and are yet to fully recover from the impact of COVID. While schools and day care centers reopened, parents are still struggling with high levels of burnout and dissatisfaction with the support they receive from their employers.

“Parents really need help – they’ve had a lot of tough challenges during the pandemic, but they still exist,” said Andrew Monroe, director of experienced talent research at Veris Insights, a recruitment analytics platform. “Parents have never really had a chance to work their way out of the deficit they have experienced during the pandemic.”

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A March survey by childcare provider Bright Horizons found 38% of parents were planning to do so look for a new job in 2022, and 35% said their employer didn’t agree with their needs as working parents. If employers want to attract this group, they need to change their approach, says Monroe.

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“We have about two openings for every active job seeker, so there’s really no way for employers to relax and think about what it takes to win the war for talent,” he says. “We need a slightly different approach for working parents and it cannot be one size fits all. That will be a losing strategy.”

Employers can greatly benefit from having working parents on their roster, says Monroe — working parents are more engaged and motivated than other demographics in the workplace. And as younger groups begin to raise their families, the work organizations are doing today will pay off in the future.

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“The need for benefits around childcare and flexibility is really much more important to parents, but also something that’s much less common in what employers offer,” says Monroe. “But the working parent population is growing as Millennials and Gen Z are starting to think about starting families. You really need to plan how you’re going to attract parents or you’ll miss out on a huge pool of talent. ”

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In the wake of the pandemic, only 10% of employers are offering any type of childcare allowance, like grants or emergency care, according to the Harris Poll. These programs can go a long way in attracting potential employees while retaining the employees you have now, says Monroe.

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job stability flexible working policy are two other areas that are extremely attractive to working parents — emphasizing these traits in job postings is a good place to start, says Monroe. For the parents already working in your organization, accepting remote and hybrid working arrangements is a must.

“The data from parents couldn’t be clearer that they are looking for flexible working opportunities. You are looking for work-life balance. They’re looking for hybrid options to address many of the challenges they’ve faced over the last few years,” says Monroe. “Employers need to have a message about why their company and why the jobs at their company aren’t just here for two to three months are, but are good, stable jobs in the long term.”

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