It’s always interesting to find out what people REALLY think, and on the topic of working and motherhood, there are often widely varying views. So my company, FlexJobs, recently conducted a survey of our members who are working parents -- 93% of whom are working mothers – to see how our audience felt.
Sure, I know how much I love having a flexible job, and I’ve spoken to thousands of other moms who want or already have some kind of work flexibility that they appreciate. But, I am the first to say how truly surprised I was when 97% of the survey respondents said that having a flexible job would make them a better parent in some way. Wow. That many?! The direct correlation that our work lives have on our family lives had never seemed so crystal clear.
It’s not a one-dimensional situation though. Another question that fielded an equally interesting response was that 76% of the parents “want” to work Almost all also “need” to work (91%), but I think it’s interesting that so many of the parents indicated that they would work even if they didn’t need to. It really highlights how much our professional selves mean to us. And another fantastic – and optimistic – point was that 81% believe that you can be both a great employee and a great parent. Another 15% said that they’re hopeful it can be done, but still not sure, and only 4% said that it wasn’t possible to be great at both.
Anyway, back to work flexibility. Why would it help us be better mothers? Here are the top three reasons we found:
- We wouldn’t have to miss important events in our kid’s lives, like 42% reported having experienced.
- We could be there to take care of our children when they're sick without worrying that we’d lose pay or even our jobs, as 58% have stressed about.
- We’d be able to be more involved in our children’s schools and activities by volunteering with them, said a striking 89%.
Now here’s the bonus – work flexibility also makes us better employees! Of the many reasons, here are the top three from our survey:
- We don’t have miss work to care for our children when they’re sick, like 81% said they’ve had to do.
- We don’t call in sick or use PTO in order to attend important event, like 54% have done.
- We’re more productive and – maybe counter-intuitively – more available. 95% said that if they worked from home, they would be the same productivity or better (67% said better!), and 84% said that they would miss fewer work days from sickness or unplanned absences
In fact, flexible work solutions such as the ability to work from home are so attractive to parents that 88% favored the option over higher pay. And this is coming from a pretty smart group of folks – 82% surveyed have a college degree, and 35% of those have a graduate degree.
It’s worth noting that finding a flexible job isn’t all that far-fetched -- 76% said that they know another parent who currently has a flexible job. And 20% said that their pursuit of flexible job has them following in their own parents’ footsteps, having grown up in households where at least one of their parents had a flexible job.
It’s clear that job flexibility is a growing trend and that wise employers will follow suit by providing flexible work policies. After all, parents feel that these policies will help make them better parents, so they're not only influencing this generation of professionals, but the next generation as well.
Finally, I really hope that employers are listening to the needs of this highly educated group of job seekers as a resource for them to continue to secure top talent while providing the opportunity for these dynamic working parents to have more time to contribute to their communities. Bring on work flexibility for 2013!