September 8, 2022 (Salt Lake City) – Statewide survey results suggest there are a number of supportive policies employers could enact to recruit, support, and retain working parents in Utah’s competitive labor market. The survey, which was sponsored by the Salt Lake Chamber, Utah Community Builders, and the Utah Department of Health and Human Services, was released this week by the Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute. It shows that while most are satisfied with their current work and childcare arrangement, many parents and guardians also think policies such as increased wage/salary, paid family leave, flexible/stable hours and schedule, remote/hybrid work options, better part-time job opportunities and childcare assistance are important to achieving their ideal situation.
“With workforce recruitment and development a top priority for businesses across all industries, this report highlights areas where employers and employees can work together on work-life balance,” said Derek Miller, president and CEO of the Salt Lake Chamber. “A priority of the Chamber’s non-profit social impact foundation, Utah Community Builders, is to equip businesses with best practices on how to be more family friendly in recruitment, retention and management. The survey data shows that businesses have an opportunity to implement policies that will not only strengthen our workforce, but also generate new opportunities to find untapped talent and create an environment supportive of work-life balance.”
The lead author also commented:
“With low unemployment and high labor force participation, Utah employers are competing to recruit and retain qualified employees,” said Samantha Ball, Gardner Institute Senior Research Associate. “This survey highlights working parents as an important labor resource who believe there are several policies employers could offer that would support them in getting closer to their ideal balance between paid work and childcare.”
The research was made possible through the leadership and sponsorship of Utah Community Builders, the non-profit social impact foundation of the Salt Lake Chamber. The private sector is uniquely positioned to drive real progress on social issues affecting businesses, workforce, and families. The Utah Department of Health and Human Services also helped underwrite the research.
Key findings from the report include the following:
Supportive Employer Policies are Important– Many parents/guardians would work more or change their job if they had supportive policies at work.
Wages/Salary are Important, but Not the Whole Story– An increased wage or salary is ranked as important to achieving the ideal work and childcare arrangement by the greatest number of respondents (86%), but it comes in sixth (6%) in policies that would be most influential in choosing to change jobs, employer or industry, behind more remote work opportunities (33%); more flexible/predictable hours (25%); more part time opportunities for career advancement (11%); greater assistance with childcare subsidies (10%) and onsite childcare (9%).
Demographics Matter– Respondents’ employer policy preferences differ significantly between respondents with different characteristics, such as age, gender, income, whether there are children under 6 in the household, and level of satisfaction with current work and childcare arrangement.
The full report is now available online.