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Parents Poised to Quit Jobs if Boss Doesn’t Step Up

New Research shows parents will leave jobs for employers who offer family-friendly benefits as they continue to prioritize family

The 10th annual edition of the Modern Family Index (MFI), commissioned by Bright Horizons (NYSE:BFAM) and conducted by The Harris Poll, sheds light on a newly emboldened generation of working parents who are willing to stand up for what they need to support their work/life balance. The research reveals their willingness to pause family planning until they find a job at a company that offers family-friendly benefits.

Since 2014, the MFI has explored the experiences and sentiments of working parents as they’ve navigated balancing work with their familial/life responsibilities. While worries from 2014 may have ebbed somewhat in 2024, they haven’t disappeared, and parents are emboldened in their expectations. Though fewer parents in 2024 than in 2014 report fearing their family responsibilities will cost them a raise (29% in 2024, 39% in 2014), a promotion (26%, 37%), or their job (28%, 48%), tangible supports for working parents still aren’t widely available.

While there are similarities between parents in 2024 and 2014 when it comes to prioritizing their families (77% report it is among their top three priorities vs. 76% in 2014), parents today no longer feel the need to hide their familial responsibilities and are willing to demand what they need in the pursuit of work/life balance, even if they have to find another job to get it.

2024 Key Findings

  • 78% of respondents are more comfortable speaking up about family-related responsibilities with their employer than they used to be
  • 78% say having benefits and support from their employer specifically for working parents/caretakers is important to them
  • 70% agree that working for a company that has benefits to support work/life balance is “non-negotiable”
  • 66% of those who are planning to have more children in the future would consider waiting to grow their families until they have landed at a company that offers better familial/family planning benefits

The data should sound alarm bells for employers as it illustrates employees’ willingness to take a stand on what it will take for their employers to retain them. At the top of their benefits wish list is support with childcare – nearly half (46%) of parents reported that assistance with childcare and access to an onsite childcare (43%) would be helpful – even above unlimited remote work (40%). Despite this clear call for support, less than a third (29%) are getting assistance in childcare costs from their employers.

“Over the last decade, the workplace has undergone tremendous transformation, with perhaps the biggest change coming from employees themselves. They are no longer afraid to speak up about the support they need and want to be productive at home and work. They have high expectations of themselves and are demanding the same from their employers,” said Stephen Kramer CEO of Bright Horizons.

Opportunity for Employers

It’s not all doom and gloom for employers. The data presents clues to what would help. In contrast to their 2014 counterparts, today’s parents seem more optimistic about the future of working and parenting. Many working parents (44%) anticipate that the workplace will get better over the next decade and hope for specific improvements including:

  • schedule flexibility (65%)
  • better quality benefits (57%)
  • a work environment sensitive to their work/life balance needs (44%)
  • more childcare supports (35%)

Kramer adds, “Employers who lean in and support employees with meaningful benefits will cement workplace cultures as family-friendly, positioning their organizations as the places that the next generation will want to build their careers.”

The MFI research paints of a picture of a new generation of parents – hard working, potential leaders, who are clear-eyed about the tension between jobs and families, and willing to take a firm stand on what it will take for employers to attract and retain them.

To download the 10th Annual Bright Horizons Modern Family Index report, click here.

About the Bright Horizons Modern Family Index

The research was conducted online in the U.S. by The Harris Poll on behalf of Bright Horizons among 2,004 adults aged 18 and over who are employed with children under 18. The survey was conducted from January 25th – February 2nd, 2024. Data are weighted where necessary by age by gender, race/ethnicity, region, education, marital status, household size, employment status, household income, and smoking status to bring them in line with their actual proportions in the population.

Respondents for this survey were selected from among those who have agreed to participate in our surveys. The sampling precision of Harris online polls is measured by using a Bayesian credible interval. For this study, the sample data is accurate to within + 3.1 percentage points using a 95% confidence level. This credible interval will be wider among subsets of the surveyed population of interest. All sample surveys and polls, whether or not they use probability sampling, are subject to other multiple sources of error which are most often not possible to quantify or estimate, including, but not limited to coverage error, error associated with nonresponse, error associated with question wording and response options, and post-survey weighting and adjustments.

About Bright Horizons Family Solutions Inc.

Bright Horizons® is a leading global provider of high-quality early education and childcare, back-up care, and workforce education services. For more than 35 years, we have partnered with employers to support workforces by providing services that help working families and employees thrive personally and professionally. Bright Horizons operates more than 1,000 early education and childcare centers in the United States, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Australia, and India, and serves more than 1,450 of the world’s leading employers. Bright Horizons’ early education and childcare centers, back-up child and elder care, and workforce education programs help employees succeed at each life and career stage. For more information, go to


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