Recently while talking to a group of women looking to get back into the workforce, I could tell my emphasis on the data we are collecting at Maybrooks around paid leave at companies — if they offer it or not, and how much — was falling largely on deaf ears.
I get it. These women have had their kids and raised them for many years — in some cases into middle school and high school. Their worries are in a different direction as they try to return to work. They need creative ways to refresh their resumes or for a hiring manager to overlook a gap on the resume. They may need new skills or someone to take a chance on them.
But here’s the deal: We should all care if a company offers paid leave. Whether you’re about to graduate from college or from that MBA program and not quite ready for children, or if you are well beyond your childbearing years, as you begin your job search, you should care if a company offers paid leave.
Why? A company that offers women paid leave is a company you want to work for because they’ve put time, thought and money into a policy that wants to attract and retain women talent. It’s an even better signal if the company is offering paid leave for men or has moved to an over all “paid leave” approach for all new parents, including those who adopt. Those companies are also contributing to breaking down gender-specific roles, and their paid leave policy could be an indicator that they’re progressive in other ways, too, when it comes to creating a corporate infrastructure that’s designed to support its employees.
In fact our database of companies that work for working families shows that 34% of companies that offer paid leave also offer some form of flexible work and childcare options.
If you love your job but hate the culture, it’s likely not going to work. If you love the culture, you’ll likely find a way to make the job work. So why not start with culture first?