Historians tell us that the Industrial Revolution in America— late 1800s to the early 1900s— was a powerful movement that permanently changed the look of the labor force in this country. Before this period, many men and women worked together on a farm or ranch to provide for the family as working parents. When technological advancements lured men to more lucrative positions in factories, women remained at home to take care of children and handle domestic chores.
In the early 1900s only 20 percent of all jobs were held by women. Studies show that by the 1970s the number of women workers had risen to 38 percent. A 2010 survey indicated that more than half of all jobs were held by women. It may have been customary to be a stay-at-home-mom in the early 1900s, but now more women choose or find it necessary to work outside the home. This shift has created a growing demand for convenient, affordable childcare as working parents try to work while managing family responsibilities at the same.
Of the top 100 best companies to work for, one common feature is childcare in the workplace. More employers have realized that on-site daycare is a win-win situation. Working parents are better able to focus on the demands of the job when they have peace of mind about the care of their children during the day. Less time is missed from work due to family emergencies when a parent is nearby. The rates for employer-sponsored childcare are usually cheaper than rates at traditional centers.
Employers have also noticed that providing childcare in the workplace enhances their recruitment efforts. Top candidates for specialized fields are holding out for companies that are responsive to the needs of working parents. Employee retention is another bonus for businesses that offer childcare in the workplace. Once on board, working parents tend to remain at jobs with in-house childcare.
Other perks for working moms
Some forward thinking companies are offering childcare classes, first aid classes and fitness classes designed for new moms and working parents.
“The focus is on the complete person in the 21st century,” explained Bea Crawford, head of Human Resources at a major manufacturing company. “We understand that a job is only part of a life. For a business to be successful, it must treat its workers as whole and allow employees to comfortably address all of their needs.”
In keeping with this focus, Crawford’s company offers childcare in the workplace, an ample maternity leave policy, paternity leave for new dads, a family night buffet every six months and an annual family picnic.
“All of our employees benefit from our family-centered focus,” added Crawford. “It seems to have a wonderfully positive ripple effect on everyone at the company.”
Be sure to ask about childcare in the workplace and other perks for working parents early in the interview process if this is on your list of priorities.
Does the company you work for provide childcare in the workplace? Would you be more apt to join a company that did provide childcare for working parents? Let us know what you think in the comments section below!
IMAGE: Courtesy of Flickr by MaretH