New Modern Family Index: Working Parents are Burned Out, Costing Employers

Last year, we asked working parents how well they were managing work and life. Their responses made the headlines that they thought family meant fired.

This year they told us they're burned out, feeling less creative, less energized about their jobs!and likely to quit.

They're also not feeling the love from the boss.

The study, the second annual Modern Family Index commissioned by Bright Horizons and just released this week, talked to working parents and managers about challenges these employees have in managing their work and family responsibilities, and how they're being felt. Why does this matter?

Study Shows a Costly Disconnect Between Managers and Working Parents

Working moms and dads rely on the peace between work and family responsibilities to help them to do their best work. Without it, they're stressed out and lagging on both fronts. So the impact is on employers, too.

A few key findings:

  • 56 percent of working parents aren't happy at their current job
  • 98 percent of working parents say they've experienced burnout
  • Nearly two-thirds (62 percent) of working parents feel their employer simply doesn't care about them

Suffering in Silence; Working Dads Increasingly Feeling the Work-Life Struggle

Equally of note is the fact that working mothers and fathers are quiet about their concerns. They feel it's extremely important to work for a company that supports the needs of working parents, but because they don't feel free to speak up - 75% said they're unlikely to say anything about an employer being insensitive to their needs as caregivers - there's a growing disconnect with their managers. While parents are at their wits' ends, barely a third of managers could see it.

And it's not just about working moms. This year's study continues to show the increasing value dads place on family time - more of them told us they worry about work-life balance than saving for college. Yet results show that managers seem largely to see it as an issue for just moms.

Where Working Parents and Managers Agree

An important part of the Modern Family Index research is the agreement on one thing: providing solutions for working parents could help everyone, with parents (not surprisingly recognized in the study as tops in areas like multitasking and time management) better able to work, and managers more likely to retain them. It's a timely issue as we observe the annual return of National Work and Family Month.

"We work with hundreds of employers who are tuned into the challenges faced by working families and who recognize that these employees are also among their most valuable," said Bright Horizons CEO Dave Lissy.

"The labor market is tightening. Jobs are expected to outnumber workers by five million by 2020, and competition for top talent will continue to intensify. Employers who can earn the hearts and minds of working parents will be ahead of the curve."

Bright Horizons' second Modern Family Index sheds news light on what's challenging working parents and employers, and how to respond. Download the full report here

Written by: Lisa Oppenheimer

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.