“The Working Parent Problem”: Harvard Business Review Talks, Why Working Parents Matter

Working mom holding her infant

Why worry about working parents?

Let Harvard Business Review tell you:

“In the United States, the age-25-to-54 civilian workforce is 102 million people, and 52 million of them are working parents,” wrote Daisy Wademan Dowling on Harvard Business Review. “If you’re having serious trouble finding the talent you need already, it’s probably time to start paying attention to ways you can attract this huge pool of working mothers and fathers, retain them, and ensure they deliver at work.”

That’s just for starters.

Other takeaways the in-depth analysis of what she calls today’s “Working Parent Problem”:

They’re a powerful group: The above numbers tell one story: girth. There’s another:  threat level. It’s “possible -- probable, even — that 50% or more of your new-product sales team, or line managers, or clinical care providers, or the candidates for that specialty role you’ve been recruiting for and that’s proving impossible to fill, are trying to be committed professionals while also raising their kids in a present and loving way.”

It’s a new world out there: “Men and women also carry much heavier loads than previous generations have. Today’s working parents are three times more likely, on average, to be part of dual-career couples or to be single than they are to have spouses at home full-time.”

It’s no longer just a working mother problem: “Today’s dads overwhelmingly report wanting to be present and on-the-job at home. They’re becoming increasingly willing to make serious career choices around it, too.”

It can start a chain reaction: “If up-and-coming stars with young children are leaving your team or organization to stay home, or for jobs where it seems more feasible to combine work and family, their younger colleagues (folks who aren’t part of that 52 million yet, but want to be someday) will notice and start wondering if they’ve found the right place to build their long-term careers.”

Solving it, wrote Daisy, requires a carefully laid out strategy that takes on challenges and solutions at every level of your workforce. And the exercise isn’t optional.

“In the current economic and cultural landscape,” she writes of the Working Parent Problem, “it can become a powerful and insidious threat to your team and organization’s success.”

“In today’ war for talent, working parenthood isn’t a skirmish — it’s a major, central battle.” 

Read the whole article, here.

Find out how to support working parents. Join the March 7 Webinar, “On-site Child Care: Why It’s Needed & How To Get Started.” Info and register here.

Written by: Lisa Oppenheimer

February 19, 2019

About the Author

Lisa Oppenheimer at Bright Horizons

As Director, Brand Storytelling at Bright Horizons, Lisa writes “from the trenches” about the real life challenges of people in today’s workplaces: from the tensions of being a working mother, to working with millennials in the digital age, and everything in between. With a career ranging from freelance to full-time, Lisa brings a diverse employment background to her perspective.