As our most recent parent survey helps confirm, the old paradigm of benefits crumbles in the face of uncertainty and ambiguity. The time for new modes of support and family benefits is now.
The future of work is here. It’s NOW. The COVID-19 pandemic has brought all workers—in particular parents—to a tipping point and accelerated trends that may have otherwise been years, if not decades away from becoming the norm.
Parents make up 40% of the workforce. They are managers, leaders, and skilled employees, essential to success. And they need new modes of support and benefits as they continuously adjust to evolving challenges.
As data from Cleo’s recent national survey of 1,500 working parents helps confirm, we’re in a moment that calls for fundamental change in the approach to family benefits and the promise they deliver on. Family support must be anchored in consistency, proactive action, and understanding the range of experiences of working parents and parents-to-be.
Half of families have had one or both parents leave the workforce or scale back their career.working parent survey
While nearly half of families have already seen one or both parents take a step back or away from their careers, 40% of all working parents are still considering a change, with rates among non-white families 28% higher than those of white or Caucasian parents.
Companies that can make parents feel included and supported are better positioned to retain top talent. Parents that feel included are 41% less likely to leave—and for working moms, in particular, it’s even more critical.
While maternity care has long been a focal point of employer support and spending, families need support beyond welcoming a new baby. More than half of families shared that they are dealing with some type of pediatric health concern, a third of which is a neurodivergent or mental health condition. This is more than twice as many as in September 2020, and particularly notable as parents caring for a child with a specialized health concern are more likely to leave their job than those without.
Half of all working parents have benefitted from new, more flexible schedules during the pandemic and aren’t ready to give that up. Amid the return to office life in tandem with in-person school, exposure to COVID is parents’ top concern, followed closely by a lack of flexibility.
Over a third of parents planning to leave their job cite flexibility as a major reason. Working moms in particular value choice in how or if they return to office and aren’t waiting for answers. If a decision on return to office hasn’t been announced, they are the most likely to be planning their exit.
Employees offered flexibility in their work schedule and location are more likely to stay with their current company.
Women continue to carry the burden of caregiving in two-parent households. What’s more, women are more than twice as likely to also be caring for an adult relative like an aging parent.
Since the start of the pandemic, nearly half of men feel they’ve advanced in their careers more than or as much as expected, but for women it’s only 1 in 3. Since March 2020, women have largely made career changes out of necessity—to find employment, flexibility, or a safer work environment—with career advancement taking a backseat, whereas men are overwhelmingly more likely to feel a change propelled them forward.
3 in 5 expecting women are considering leaving their job, and working dads are 25% more likely to consider leaving at the point their partner returns to work. Yet, only 1 in 5 non-birth parents are offered paid parental leave.
The majority of parents prioritize their caregiving responsibilities over career ambitions and taking on additional caregiving responsibilities during the pandemic set parents back regardless of gender. In the absence of full-time access to childcare, parents are more likely to be planning to leave their job.
Childcare is the most requested benefit by parents, but less than a fifth of working families have access through their employer. Even so, for almost half of those offered a childcare navigation or reimbursement benefit, it still isn’t enough support to find full-time, reliable childcare.
LGBTQ+, divorced, and single parents all feel less supported at work than their partnered, heterosexual peers. Less than half of LGBTQ+ parents even feel they can be themselves at work, and specifically feel less supported in their role as a parent. Access to support for alternate paths to parenthood (adoption, surrogacy, fostering) is particularly important to this group, and only 16% of employers provide this within their benefits.
We field regular surveys of working parents to better anticipate evolving employer and family needs, and continue providing solutions that help both thrive. Find previous working parent surveys from April 2020, June 2020, September 2020.
We surveyed 1,529 full- or part-time working parents with children from newborn to age 18. Data is aggregated and anonymized. Survey responses are representative of parents in the United States across cities/states, race & ethnicity, and income levels. We recognize that gender is not binary. 51% of respondents were women, 42% men, 1.4% transgender, 1.4% nonbinary, >1% genderqueer/non-conforming. Data for transgender, nonbinary and gender non-conforming parents was not statistically significant to report on anonymously. 72% of respondents represent a two-parent, man/woman home, 11% a single woman home and 10% a two-parent LGBTQ+ home. 31% had one child, 37% had two, 28% had more than two, and 2.4% were expecting.