More info on the Opt In/Opt Out

After posting my thoughts on the Opt In/Opt Out article in the NYX magazine section, I got an email from Sherry Lombardi and Kerry Bowbliss from Hulafrog.  Two saavy women entrepreneurs who can speak on this topic for hours. 

They surveyed their audience, over 2100 women with children under the age of 18 (over 97% of them had a child under age 12 at home) about the issue surrounding staying at home or staying in work.  Not surprising the results show an internal conflict between opting in and opting out.  Almost 2/3s of the women polled were all searching for a happy medium.  Keep in mind that 45% of the women polled were full time working mothers, 30% were staying at home and 25% were working part-time.  So a good mix. 

Below is some information about what matters most to Moms.  What Kerry says is spot on. 

“Think of what our workforce is missing,” says Kerry Bowbliss,
Hulafrog’s Co-founder & Chief Publisher. “Of the women who have
opted out, 76% have a college degree or higher and 58% have between 6
and 15 years of professional experience. And those numbers go up among
the full-time working moms that would prefer to work part time. It’s a
huge talent opportunity for those companies that find even just a few
ways to be more family-friendly.”

With regards to re-entering the workforce, 8.5 out of 10 stay-at-home
moms plan to “opt back in,” and 2 out of 3 will look for part-time
work. Of those women looking to return to work, 89% worry about
obstacles to finding a good job.

  •      57 % of stay-at-home moms say they would have continued working if their employer offered the ability to work from home.
  •      Yet, only 14 % of full-time working moms work from home two or more days per week.
  •      Only 30% of moms believe that companies today are good at allowing parent employees to balance work & family life

 Their top three concerns are:

  •      Hours won’t be ‘family friendly’
  •      Work references outdated
  •      Professional skills not current

When it comes to what matters most to parents when considering their
ideal job situation, flexibility trumps all. The survey found the top 5
benefits for moms are:

1.    Flexible Schedule                     74%

2.    Salary/Pay                         67%

3.    Good Boss or Mentors                48%

4.    Challenging & Rewarding Work     48%

5.    Health Insurance Benefits         47%

This conversation around opting in and opting out continues regardless of the road you have taken.  Having flexibility is the key.  Having employers who trust their employees to do that job that they were hired to do, wherever and whenever they need to do it is the win win for everyone. 

What Kerry and Sherry did was smart.  They did what all smart entrepreneurs do, they listen to their market.  This information comes straight from the market and what they have learned is valuable information vs a stream of conscious thought.  Data worth reading. 

Comments (Archived):

  1. Bonny

    Either you are working for someone else’s dream or you are working on your own. I don’t recall the source but you get the idea. Organically down to my bones I always knew that I would not be working for anyone else. Years waiting tables through post-graduate school dealing with the worst of the worst and the best of the best yielded a pragmatic approach to life. You create your own reality. Opt-in, opt-out–lean in, lean out–I don’t get the industry created around women and their choices.In my gut it was clear to me how much home life and child rearing I needed to feel engaged and fulfilled. I balanced it with my need for intellectual challenges and a professional life. The mix is different for different folks and that shouldn’t be a head scratcher–just make the best decisions for your psyche and your well-being and your family will thrive.

    1. Gotham Gal

      Bonny…I totally agree. Unfortunately for many it is not so easy or clear cut.

      1. Bonny

        I am always puzzled by women that make decisions that don’t align with their inner core. I once was involved with a professional women’s association in the healthcare industry and after a year I never went back–within that year I had experienced a lifetime’s worth of whining, limp handshakes, and stereotypical topics for discussion. I was assigned a high-level presentation by a key opinion leader and a group of women would wink and ask how I pulled that off–their innuendo wasn’t lost on me so I responded with a direct and truthful response. I told them that while they were sleeping off their little pineapple, fruity tooty drink karaoke hangovers I was up at dawn running with the CEO through a park in Waikiki. I wish I had taken a picture of their mugs lol.

        1. leslie

          Again , sorry, but Bonny you sound oddly like Mitt Romney in that infamous video where he “distinguishes” himself from all the rest of the country.

      2. leslie

        Thank you for saying that! I can completely appreciate what Bonny has said but as you say-not so clear cut for others. Just the mere mention of “post-graduate school” sets Bonny apart from what may indeed be a shrinking majority of women , but it is not shrinking fast enough, and it still ignores huge swaths of women both minority and not. I would be curious if the survey sample of women (and 2100) seems small to me, includes women with little or no college. And what about the rest of the women? If we ignore the women at the very bottom, those that may never even finish high school , those who may become unintentional single mothers, are we really making cultural progress for all, or are we as divided by “haves” as the rest of society? Too much? sorry , I think we had better start thinking about everyone , the bubbles we reside in don’t pop themselves. L

  2. WA

    Wow. Men beware.

  3. pixiedust8

    This is interesting. I was briefly working part-time, but that quickly escalated to full-time, when my boss needed more help. It’s still not too bad, because this firm is very respectful of your hours (most of the time) so I can leave and work from home, if need be.I also wonder how much it would help if school hours/schedules were more work-friendly. Finding worthwhile afterschool programs can be an issue and the random school holidays make it difficult when both parents work. (Also, I’m not poor, and summer camp is expensive.)My child right now is having some eye issues which need therapy and homework, and it’s hard to get all the homework done in the space when you get home. She also needs some extra help with reading (because of the eye issue). It’s hard to work full-time–especially in a demanding job–and still feel as though you are doing the best you can for your child. And I only have one!

  4. Kerry Bowbliss

    Thanks for the post Joanne!

  5. BillMcNeely

    Timely post. My wife and I getting together later today to work on her resume so she can return to the workforce. She has a college degree. We have discussed many of the issues you brought up in this post. I feel a bit unqualified in advising her on how to proceed with her job search. It’s weird I do it easily with others but with my wife it’s difficult. Suggestions?

    1. Gotham Gal

      the first question is what area interests her? food, fashion, media?

      1. BillMcNeely

        She really enjoys writing, particularly children’s stories.

        1. Gotham Gal

          do research on all the literature companies that are working in that space including many of the start-ups geared towards ipad apps around childrens literature. start hitting them up.

          1. pointsnfigures

            depending on how long, it’s tough. my wife has a marketing degree, is pretty sharp, and is also confronted with a tough job market.

        2. Lisa Abeyta

          I’d recommend she browse and – both have forums with active writers and archives of articles. She can also pick up books in the library on how to write a query letter and last year’s copy of Writer’s Market to find relevant publications that purchase freelance copy. Writing freelance from home can be an excellent option for a mom, especially if your kids are still at home during the day. Even if she decides to start applying for brick and mortar jobs in her field, having bylines and paid clips in publications will give her not only street cred but real experience that can go a long way towards making her the better candidate for a position. I wrote for ten years and turned down several full time jobs because I made as much as I wanted working freelance and had the luxury of completing deadlines around my schedule as a mom.

          1. BillMcNeely

            Thanks! I just passed this on to Suzy

  6. pointsnfigures

    I have thought hard about trying to solve the problem. There is a lot of talent out there. But, women with children work in spurts. Sometimes they have time, and sometimes they don’t. Probably a job board (like that connects women to projects. Employers would pay them like consultants. They could pick and choose the projects they wanted to do.Personally, having college educated women at home raising the next generation is very valuable as well. There is an opportunity cost to not having them in the workforce, but there is a benefit as well; we won’t know for a generation.