Fully two-thirds of highly-qualified women
(those with graduate degrees, professional degrees, or high honors undergraduate degrees)
have discontinuous or non-linear careers.
-Off-Ramps and On-Ramps, Harvard Business School Press, 2007
Preference for Current Employer
Employees prefer to stay with one employer if that organization reflects their values and delivers on their expectations, according to research conducted by the Institute for the Future and Catalyst. The majority of women who have invested in their careers would prefer paths that allow them to sustain their careers and manage their family responsibilities.
"More than twice as many people would prefer job mobility within a single company
as would choose career advancement in the open market."
- 2004 joint study by Deloitte and the Institute for the Future
When employees are given the flexibility to successfully manage their professional and personal lives, their loyalty to the organization increases drastically. Ellen Galinsky of the Families and Work Institute says,
"If you give your employees an inch, they will return a mile."
Ask the Critical Questions
Does everyone need a job that is the same "size" in terms of work hours?
Does everyone complete the same amount of work in the same amount of time?
What other options are available?
Provide Career Path Options
Many professionals across industries seek options for managing their personal and professional lives. They want sustainable careers with a pace that allows them quality in their lives. For years, many women without options “hit the wall” and Off Ramped (left paid employment) altogether but found the On Ramp (re-entry) process was very steep. Today’s technologies offer a host of options for working in various capacities during the “crunch” years of childrearing and professional growth.
Provide the Tools
Employees need the tools to define their careers within the parameters of the organization. Organizations need options clearly defined by role, advancement opportunity, compensation, and benefits. Those options need to be supported by managers trained in diversity, the business case for flexible work, and how to manage employees working flexibly.
“Even today, when 46% of the U.S. workforce is made up of women and 81% of women have children by age 44,
most good jobs in the U.S. (those with good benefits and pay and opportunities for advancement) are
designed around the ideal of a worker who is available for and devoted to work 24/7, with no domestic responsibilities.”
Corporate Voices for Working Families, 2009
To determine the best approach for developing flexible career paths in your organization, please refer to NLC Services.
Elements of a Flexible Workplace: