For many years, tech roles have been synonymous with male-dominated jobs, just like numerous other careers in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math). However, we’ve seen a tide shift in a big way over the last decade. More and more women are landing coveted roles in tech and employers are seeing the value of a more diverse workspace.
If you’re looking to attract more women to your workplace, you may want to take a good look at the benefits your company offers. Not just the standard health insurance and vacation days. Women in many instances are solely responsible for being the primary caretaker of the children or elderly parents in their family, while also managing a full-time job. Being able to ease this burden a bit will go a long way in attracting women to your company. So what does this look like?
If you’ve followed the news recently, you’ve no doubt heard about the efforts of the female employees at Amazon to get onsite childcare included in their benefits. Amazon employees are on a campaign to get Jeff Bezos to offer onsite childcare, citing increased productivity from its current employees and an ability to attract and retain high-quality candidates in the future.
Taylor Soper, a writer for GeekWire.com shares, “Apple, Facebook, Microsoft, and Alphabet all offer backup daycare benefits. Starbucks began providing it this past October, citing a study from the National Survey of Children’s Health that showed 2 million working parents quitting their job in 2016 due to childcare issues.” Soper goes on to say, “They could point to examples such as Patagonia, which has an on-site childcare center and in 2016 saw a 100 percent retention rate for women who had children over the previous five years.”
Onsite childcare is not the only option to consider. Some employers are opting to contribute to childcare costs or offer backup childcare for times when their childcare provider may be sick, or they need alternate care.
Why Is this Necessary?
If your company does not currently offer childcare options, you could be eliminating an entire pool of candidates right off the bat, as more and more companies increase their benefits in these areas. Most of the companies listed in the Working Mother’s 100 Best Companies, list childcare benefits, including more paid leave options and backup childcare as standard benefits.
Katheryn Reynolds Lewis, a writer for Working Mothers.com, goes on to say in an article about caring for special needs kids, “Employers are looking for other ways to support their workforce’s caregiving needs—and differentiate themselves in the war for talent. More and more, this means benefits for children with autism and other special needs, as well as programs for older school-age children. Of this year’s 100 Best Companies, 94 percent provide emotional-support counseling for teens and tweens, 88 percent offer support for treating employees’ children with autism, 63 percent facilitate college coaching, 41 percent have tutoring services, and 25 percent give employees a homework hotline. While there’s a fee for some of these, others are free.”
It’s becoming clear that to stay competitive in attracting new talent, companies need to step up their game and offer the best benefits packages possible to mothers and caregivers. Childcare costs are a major source of stress for mothers, with the national average for in-home childcare being $28, 354 and $8,589 for in-center care, as reported by The 2016 Care Index. These costs are even higher for those living in major metropolitan areas. Julia Beck with the Harvard Business Review points out that, “…NYC, Boston, Atlanta, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. These are the very same cities where employers struggle to recruit and maintain skilled talent.”
If your company is not providing any benefits specific to mothers, it would be worth looking at what some of these other companies are doing and finding ways to incorporate some of their practices into your company culture, if for no other reason than to remain competitive when recruiting.