Under 35s increasingly proactive about seeking family-friendly employers

A new survey by Bright Horizons shows younger parents are seeking out family friendly employers.

Family laughing


Under 35s expect to achieve career success without sacrificing their personal lives, according to a new survey.

The poll of 1,750 workers for the Bright Horizons’ annual Work + Family Snapshot shows under 35s place the highest value on family life of different age groups – 56% compared to an average of 50% who said ‘my family has become
a higher priority than before’ – and have the biggest career aspirations. Moreover, over half [51%] continue to re-evaluate their career options, with employers with family-friendly policies being favoured. That includes back-up childcare solutions, with 67% of parents saying they have had to use annual leave to cover childcare when back-up care has been used up.

The report also highlights increasing numbers of employees in all age groups have experienced care disruptions – with 57% reporting childcare breakdowns lasting five or more days. Moreover, over a fifth across all ages have eldercare commitments while over 55s says they value family over career.

Bright Horizons says the survey shows younger parents are actively seeking out companies that enable them to put their home lives on an equal footing with building a successful career and it warns employers without family friendly policies in place to urgently rethink their approach and pay close attention to the demands being placed on their employees.

Denise Priest, Executive Director of Work and Family Solutions, said: “These findings highlight the considerable power shift currently underway in the workplace – a phenomenon many of us will have already experienced. Put simply, employees now expect increasing support and recognition for their life outside the workplace – and they have the confidence to demand it.

“The statistics send a clear message to employers – younger people fully expect to blend career ambition with family; this is the new normal.”

The report calls on employers to use smart communications to raise awareness of the family support they offer at key life stage points, ensure that decision-makers see the impact that family support has on productivity, engagement and career progression by linking data on family benefits and productivity/wellbeing, have a policy to help employees when care fails and consider offering care per dependant, not per employee as care breakdowns can easily exceed the subsidised days of care. In addition it recommends that employers rethink what ‘family’ means so that it is not focused only on families with young children, for example, give managers the tools they need to support families, provide best in class online solutions and coach individuals and managers through ‘moments that matter’. This includes family transitions, such as becoming a parent or carer as well as life transitions such as the menopause.

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