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What It Takes For A Company To Be Above-Average For Working Moms

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There are lots of rankings out there of “best companies” and “best places to work,” but given the diversity of employees at most companies, what’s best for one person can be pretty different from what’s best for someone else. That’s why Fairygodboss publishes a list of best companies for womenthat’s based solely on the female employee experience, and why we appreciate the research that Working Mother magazine has done in order to publish their annual rankingof best places to for working moms to work.

Data suggests that while working moms and working dads are increasingly sharing household and care-taking responsibilities, American society and cultural norms still lead more moms (than dads) to take on the lionshare of unpaid family work and to make career adjustments accordingly. This is even true at a time when more women than ever are breadwinners for their families.

So what makes a workplace better than average for a working mom? One place to look is the data around workplace policies and practices. Companies are not all equal in this regard, and Working Mother’s top company list highlights the average performance of their top companies in the following areas: women’s representation in the employee base, parental leave policies, back-up family care benefits, mentorship and advancement programs, and workplace flexibility.

On average, 40% of employees at the top firms were female, the percentage of women in management was 46%, and the percentage of female new hires was 49%. At the top firms, the average parental leave policies included 10 weeks of paid leave for moms, 4 weeks of paid leave for dads, and 6 weeks of paid leave for newly adoptive parents.

Seventy percent and 92% of Working Mother’s top rated companies offered eldercare and back-up childcare, respectively.  Relatedly, flexibility was common at these employers, with 58% of employees at these companies able to take advantage of telecommuting and 89% of managers at these companies trained to manage employee work-life balance and flexibility concerns.

Policies, corporate investment in programs and training do matter. Sometimes women in our community leave job reviews on Fairygodboss describing how some policies look better on paper than in practice, but the fact of the matter is that some women have no access to these kinds of policies in the first place. While culture and the ability to take advantage of programs offered by employers certainly matters a lot and is something a bit harder to uncover without the help of first-person employee job reviews, I think it’s important to try to look at things from the glass-half-full perspective. The greater pressure there is on policies and transparency around the number of companies who partake in offering these kinds of benefits, the more other companies will look around and realize there are important things to do in order to attract, recruit and retain women — whether a woman is a mother or not.

Georgene Huang is CEO of Fairygodboss, a marketplace where professional women looking for jobs, career advice and the inside scoop on companies meet employers who care about gender equality.

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