We've talked alot here about marketing consumer products and services to women, but there is another segment of the economy that needs to look at this complex demographic and adjust it's approach - corporate employers. A US News & World Report cover story, The New Mommy Track, hitting newsstands next week, delves into the many ways women are negotiating careers and motherhood on their own terms, including extended leaves, part-and flex-time options and starting their own businesses. Some companies, such as Best Buy, who has implemented a flex time program for all employees at it's corporate headquarters and PricewaterhouseCooper's whose Full Circle program allows select senior managers to take a couple year break without losing their spot on the partner track, are working to avoid the talent drain. But they are the minority. Most companies still remain in the 9-5 structured world with no formal programs in place to retain talented mothers, who don't want to sacrifice family for career but have plenty of brainpower available for the employer who approaches the situation creatively.
Why should they care? In addition to the fact that more women are earning bachelor's and master's degrees today than men, according to a recent Lifetime survey, the most popular goal among women ages 18 to 29 was to manage their own companies (47%) while becoming president of a major corporation was named by only 10%. It's unclear whether that's because they wouldn't be interested in the job, or they doubt they could dedicate their lives to the level necessary to climb the corporate ladder to the top. Either way, companies seeking to attract and retain educated talent must look at the convergence of these trends and create opportunities that begin to address the needs of the changing workforce.
The article offers lots of stats, examples and sidebars. A fascinating read.