A recent Wired feature took readers on a tour of Apple’s new campus in Cupertino, Calif. The company’s new HQ looks like a spaceship — or a donut, depending on your point of view — and boasts features like a theater that seats 1,000 people and shock absorbers to offset earthquakes, and is powered by 100 percent sustainable energy. It also has a 100,000-square foot gym. But as Mike Murphy pointed out at Quartz, what it does not have is a daycare facility.
“What’s notably missing from the 175-acre headquarters, however, is a childcare center—probably not a big deal to workers who don’t need to leave the mothership to tend to such worldly pursuits as child-rearing, but a missed opportunity, given Apple’s prominence as an employer, to redefine the relationship between work and home life,” Murphy wrote.
Work-Life Balance Often Means Work-Family Balance
As Murphy and others remind us, on-site childcare is still a rare commodity at American companies — even at top employers that offer other mind-boggling perks like paid sabbaticals and egg-freezing.
That last perk is available at Facebook, Apple, and a few other Silicon Valley tech companies. It’s also somewhat controversial.
At Business Insider, Sabrina Parsons argued:
First, it essentially tells women that the only way they can succeed in the corporate America “mold” is by not having a family. Many might decide to not have children at all if they think that is what’s necessary to be successful in their careers.
Secondly, policies like this scare women into believing that if they do choose to have children mid-career, they will have no opportunity to move up the corporate ladder. This can result in women leaving the workforce altogether to pursue their family lives. Policies like this are perpetuating gender inequality in the workplace and only contributing to, not solving, the problem.
Why Employers Should Offer Childcare
By not offering childcare, employers may be undercutting their own efforts to attract and retain the best talent.
Patagonia, the outdoor clothing and equipment company, has been offering on-site childcare for 30+ years — with impressive results. The company boasts 100 percent retention of new moms, as opposed to the nation’s average of less than 80 percent.
Patagonia has offered on-site childcare for 30+ years, and boasts 100% retention of new moms.
Offering childcare and other benefits designed to make work-life balance easier might also attract dads as well. PayScale’s report, Inside the Gender Pay Gap, showed that workers who feel their employers aren’t addressing gender inequity are much more likely to say they plan to seek a new job within the next six months. In fact, 74 percent of men who felt their employers were taking no action said they planned to move on, compared to 71 percent of women.
On-site daycare wouldn’t solve all the challenges facing working moms … but it would sure help.
Tell Us What You Think
Do you think companies should offer childcare? We want to hear from you. Tell us your opinion in the comments or join the conversation on Twitter.