As companies, schools and families worked to adapt to the changes brought on by the coronavirus pandemic, these new conditions forced many to prioritize some responsibilities over others.
The latest findings from Express Employment Professionals, a staffing firm based in Oklahoma City, revealed shifts in the U.S. workforce as employees struggled to care for their loved ones during the health crisis.
Even as many hiring decision-makers agreed on the importance of supporting their workers during this challenging time, 40% of them have reported employees leaving their company during the pandemic to care for children or other family members.
Employees struggle to adapt to new responsibilities during COVID-19 pandemic
A recent survey of Black caregivers found that over half of them feel they can't take a day off from their caregiving duties while another 4 in 10 don't feel financially prepared for these responsibilities — a problem exacerbated by needing to take time off work to do so.
And as schools across the country shifted to remote learning during the pandemic, parents with school-age children struggled to keep up with these new responsibilities and saw their career suffering as a result. Franklin Templeton and Gallup discovered that parents with children learning from home were more likely to be unemployed than those with children attending school in person.
Consequently, hiring leaders saw their employees leaving the workforce for family reasons, including:
- To take care of children (27%)
- To take care of other family members (25%)
More than 3 in 10 hiring decision-makers have also reported employees changing their work schedule (37%) or reducing their working hours (32%) to meet family obligations.
Working caregivers want more company programs to support them
Hiring decision-makers are committed to supporting working caregivers and their workforce at large, according to the results of the Express survey. Specifically, respondents believe:
- Support for working parent leaders in their company is important (78%)
- Leadership must be more accommodating to employee needs and schedules moving forward (33%)
- Their company is doing the right amount to help employees balance work with caregiving responsibilities (79%)
Despite these sentiments, only 3 in 10 respondents have prioritized retaining working parents (30%) and updating support programs for working caregivers (32%) in their decision-making, and it shows.
Even though 68% of hiring leaders have noted employee interest in services to help them with caregiving responsibilities, only 38% said their company offers support programs for the parents and caregivers working for them.
Of these initiatives, the most common ones include:
- Flexible work schedules or flex-time (52%)
- Telecommuting and remote work (44%)
- Employer-funded or subsidized child care (36%)
Methodology: Express Employment Professionals and The Harris Poll conducted this online survey within the U.S., from Nov. 16 to Dec. 7, 2020. The sample was comprised of 1,002 hiring decision-makers, defined as adults ages 18 and older in the U.S. who are self-employed or employed full time, work at companies with two or more employees, and have full or significant involvement in their company's hiring decisions.
Survey data was weighted by company size to align them with the general population.