Charlotte survey pinpoints strategies to retain working parents

The labor market has changed a lot since the pandemic started. According to Charlotte Works Chief Impact Officer Kevin Loux, a disproportionate number of working mothers, especially those in the service industry, are not returning to work in the same number as working fathers or non-parent men and women.

“We wanted to… ask, ‘what can we do to better support working parents in the workforce in order to enable them to be successful?’” Loux said.

Goodwill Industries and Charlotte Works partnered to distribute a survey to help them better understand what working parents need to return to the workforce.

Who are the respondents?

The survey received over 200 responses. 81% of respondents were female, 73% were Black and 73% have two or more dependents.

What are employees’ priorities?

Survey takers identified four factors that are important to them in returning to the workforce: 96.2% of respondents chose health and wellbeing, 94.4% chose flexibility, 92.5% chose workplace culture that supports and understands their needs, and 87.2% chose better compensation. The average pay that survey respondents said they need is $33.57 and hour. Loux said that the average income for a family of four the Charlotte area is around $60,000 a year, which “is not overly surprising given the demographics of the survey.”

94% of respondents indicated they could consider switching to an industry that allows remote work.

“With the large number of working mothers exiting the service industry, many of those occupations have in-person requirements,” Loux said. 86% of caretakers are actively seeking or are open to new employment.

“Even if you don’t have an issue attracting this type of talent, if you’re not being responsive to these results, you may have an issue retaining working parents,” said Loux.

What should employers do?

Based on the survey results, Charlotte Works and Goodwill Industries made recommendations to employers in the area to attract and retain working parents.

  • Offer flexible hours so parents can pick up or drop off their kids.
  • Maximize the amount of remote work allowed as practicable.
  • Maximize paid time off and parental leave based on whatever the company can afford. 89% of respondents without dependents supported offering perks like paid parental leave for those with children.  
  • Have at least 3 meetings to onboard and offboard working parents before and after their parental leave.
  • Survey/have conversations to discover gaps in support to working parents.
  • Share community resources and information with working parents.

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