A University of Melbourne study about Generation X women losing hope and dropping out of the workforce is getting ink in Australian newspapers. The Daily Telegraph’s headline actually characterized the situation as “shattered hope”.
Perthnow (powered by Australia’s Sunday Times) also published the news release. Here is an excerpt:
Only 38 per cent of Generation X, tertiary qualified women worked full-time, compared to 90 per cent of Generation X, tertiary qualified men, in a University of Melbourne study.
According to the study, when Gen X women graduated from college they ranked career as a top priority. But, once they started to have children, there was little support from employers. In fact, the study reveals that Australia’s workplace policies have taken a toll on Gen X women. The health of Gen X women has actually suffered in comparison to that of Canadian women.
Nobody has to tell me that workplace policies in the United States have taken a toll on the health of Gen X women. The biggest question is what aspect of health has it impacted most – physical? mental? marital? familial? emotional? It’s a toss up.
What I am seeing throughout my daily research is that Gen X is not fairing well as we head into middle age. Gen X marriages are starting to really suffer. I predict the divorce rate for Gen X will exceed divorce rates for all previous generations. This is especially gut-wrenching for a generation of latchkey kids who made their homes child-focused; who have responded to their own childhood neglect by overparenting their own kids (driving teachers cuckoo all the while).
I am so grateful for the brilliant minds at the U.S. Department of Labor who work daily to raise awareness about the benefits of flexible work arrangements for employees, EMPLOYERS and society as a whole. In addition, I believe I’ve mentioned this before, but if not, workplace flexibility is a public policy initiative of Georgetown Law.
If you are an employer and you are not pursuing workplace flexibility for your employees you are a dinosaur. Good luck staying ahead of your competition, because the most innovative employers – the ones who actually get the connection between happy employees and fantastic work products – are the ones that will retain the best talent.
I will never forget the time I was working for Employer X. I sat on a hiring committee to fill a marketing job that paid around $55,000 a year. When the top candidate was offered the job she tried to negotiate a work day that started 30 minutes later than the department’s original work schedule so she could get her kid on the bus. They declined her request and hired their second choice. Nice.
If you want to be brilliant, I will be happy to consult with you and your HR folks on small steps you can take to ease your company toward flexible work arrangements. I have a 30-minute presentation on this subject. It will blow you away.
Have you ever considered dropping out of the workforce?