HRE’s number of the day: women leaving the workforce

A majority of working moms are planning to remain at home as full-time caregivers. Here’s what that means to HR leaders.
By: | June 18, 2021

Amid an ongoing exodus of women from the workforce during the pandemic, TopResume asked 1,508 women in the U.S. who identified as primary caregivers to children under the age of 18 if they plan to return to the workforce. Only 31% said they planned to return within the next 12 months, while the other 69% said they planned to stay at home.

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What it means to HR leaders

The data is the latest to point to a growing number of employees who have left, or are considering leaving the workforce. The pandemic, in particular, has shaken up the talent market, and caregiving and work-life balance concerns have made many female workers, in particular, vulnerable and not eager to return to work.

“The pandemic continues to wreak havoc on people’s careers, but no one has been hit harder than working mothers, which is especially distressing since over a year has passed and the outlook should be more promising,” says Amanda Augustine, TopResume’s career expert.

Related: Requiring employees to return to the office? Get ready for them to quit

“Our latest findings reveal the next stage of workforce impact: Not only have working women left their jobs in droves, but nearly three out of four have no intention of returning any time soon — a grim outlook for employers who are ramping up for a post-pandemic workplace.”

The research has big implications for employers. To help keep females in the workplace, experts say organizations need to beef up benefits and programs that support them, while also listening to their needs.

“If employers want to reap the benefits that come with having a gender-balanced organization—increased profitability, creativity and innovation—then they will need to commit to providing benefits and implementing programs that better accommodate and support mothers in the workplace,” Augustine says.

Register here for the HR Tech Conference to hear leading strategies, including during the Women in HR Tech Summit, for keeping women in the workforce.

Kathryn Mayer is HRE’s benefits editor and chair of the Health & Benefits Leadership Conference. She has covered benefits for the better part of a decade, and her stories have won multiple awards, including a Jesse H. Neal Award and honors from the American Society of Business Publication Editors and the National Federation of Press Women. She holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Denver. She can be reached at kmayer@lrp.com.

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