Survey Finds Four in Ten Working Mothers Likely to Change Jobs Because of Childcare Issues (Media Release)October 5, 2023
- Working moms are more likely to be worried their careers will be negatively impacted by childcare responsibilities than working dads.
- And more than half (55%) of working parents say they cannot afford childcare without financial assistance from their organization.
New York, October 5, 2023—Women’s careers are being drastically affected by childcare responsibilities, according to a new survey of working men and women in the United States, commissioned by Catalyst, a global nonprofit promoting gender equity and workplace inclusion, and conducted online by The Harris Poll.
With a lack of childcare options—which is set to worsen with the end of federal pandemic-era subsidies for the childcare sector—35% of women with children say they will likely need to stop working altogether to manage the childcare they need.
Four in ten (44%) women say they will likely need to change jobs to balance childcare with work demands, compared to 37% of men. Additionally, the burden of changing jobs in order to balance childcare with work demands is disproportionately falling on parents of color, with half of Black and Hispanic/Latine working parents saying they will need to change jobs, compared to 34% of White employees with children.
The survey also finds that two thirds (67%) of women are concerned that their childcare responsibilities will negatively affect their career, compared to 52% of men.
“Three years ago, at the start of a workplace-changing pandemic, we thought we’d see a watershed moment for women in the workplace,” said Lorraine Hariton, Catalyst’s president and CEO. “This data reveals that while the workplace has changed in many ways, the struggle for working parents—especially women and parents of color—remains. We have a long way to go in bridging the gap between what working parents need and what they’re getting. Solving this problem will require systemic change—both public and private.”
Employers have a critical role to play
Half of employees with children have considered leaving their organization because of a lack of childcare benefits.
More than half (55%) of those surveyed say that without financial assistance or subsidies from their organization, they are unable to afford childcare, while three-quarters (75%) would use childcare benefits, such as onsite childcare and back-up or emergency childcare, if their organization provided them.
Seventy percent of working parents say they are more likely to choose an employer that provides childcare benefits over one that does not. Additionally, 59% of employees would use caregiving benefits for elder care or the care of other relatives if available from their organization.
Benefits are not one-size-fits-all
Paid childcare isn’t the only corporate-subsidized benefit important to working parents; help for working parents can come from a mixture of supportive services and corporate offerings. Benefits might include paid emergency care days for children or elders, financial subsidies, on-site childcare, flex spending accounts, flexible and hybrid work options, and employee discounts for childcare.
Catalyst research has suggested that providing more innovative, flexible, and creative benefit programs helps increase employee retention and productivity and reduces missed work.
“Employees are making decisions on where and if they work based on their childcare needs,” added Hariton. “Employers have a critical role to play and must help find innovative solutions for working parents—especially if they are going to keep good talent.”
This survey was conducted online within the United States by The Harris Poll on behalf of Catalyst from June 26 – 28, 2023, among 1,086 US adults ages 18 and older employed full or part time. The sampling precision of Harris online polls is measured by using a Bayesian credible interval. For this study, the sample data is accurate to within +/- 3.4 percentage points using a 95% confidence level. View the full findings at www.catalyst.org.
Catalyst is a global nonprofit supported by many of the world’s most powerful CEOs and leading companies to help build workplaces that work for women. Founded in 1962, Catalyst drives change with preeminent thought leadership, actionable solutions, and a galvanized community of multinational corporations to accelerate and advance women into leadership—because progress for women is progress for everyone.
Director, Global Communications
US Communications Consultant
[email protected] /a>