Supportive employer policies critical for retaining Utah working parents in tight labor market, survey shows

Statewide survey results suggest there are a number of supportive policies employers could enact to recruit, support, and retain working parents in Utah’s competitive labor market. The survey, released today by the Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute in partnership with the Salt Lake Chamber, shows that while most are satisfied with their current work and childcare arrangement, many parents and guardians also think policies such as increased wage/salary, paid family leave, flexible/stable hours and schedule, remote/hybrid work options, better part-time job opportunities and childcare assistance are important to achieving their ideal situation. 

“With low unemployment and high labor force participation, Utah employers are competing to recruit and retain qualified employees,” said Samantha Ball, Gardner Institute Senior Research Associate and lead author of the report. “This survey highlights working parents as an important labor resource and who believe there are several policies employers could offer that would support them in getting closer to their ideal balance between paid work and childcare.” 

Key findings from the report include the following:  

Supportive Employer Policies are Important– Many parents/guardians would work more or change their job if  they had supportive policies at work. 

Wages/Salary are Important, but Not the Whole Story– An increased wage or salary is ranked as important to achieving the ideal work and childcare arrangement by the greatest number of respondents (86%), but it comes  in sixth (6%) in policies that would be most influential in choosing to change jobs, employer or industry, behind  more remote work opportunities (33%); more flexible/predictable hours (25%); more part time opportunities for  career advancement (11%); greater assistance with childcare subsidies (10%) and onsite childcare (9%). 

Demographics Matter– Respondents’ employer policy preferences differ significantly between respondents with  different characteristics, such as age, gender, income, whether there are children under 6 in the household, and  level of satisfaction with current work and childcare arrangement. 

The full report is now available online