Telecommuting, Flexible Schedules More Important Than Salary for Many Parents, Survey Finds

Author: Michael Cardman, XpertHR Legal Editor

August 18, 2016

More than eight out of 10 parents of school-age kids said the opportunity to telecommute or work according to a flexible schedule was among the most important factors they look at when considering a potential job.

That's higher than any other factor, including salary, health insurance and 401(k)/retirement benefits, according to a new survey of 1,200 parents with children 18 and younger living at home.

The survey findings were published by FlexJobs, a job search website that only lists openings that include flexible work options. The survey was a voluntary sample of self-selected respondents from the public rather than a random sampling. FlexJobs reached out to potential respondents through social media and email, and they voluntarily decided whether to respond.

Respondents were given a pre-selected list of factors from which to choose. They could select as many as they wanted to mark as "most important."

Work Flexibility 84.0%
Work-Life Balance 80.1%
Salary 75.1%
Work Schedule 64.2%
Location 48.5%
Health Insurance 41.5%
Company Reputation 38.7%
Career Progression 33.7%
401(k)/Retirement Benefits 29.4%
Paid Maternity/Paternity Leave 8.4%
Other 5.1%

"For HR professionals, this survey is more evidence that flexible work options are something that professionals are actively looking for as they consider where they want to work," FlexJobs Senior Career Specialist Brie Reynolds said in a statement to XpertHR. "One key step HR departments and recruiters can take is to start including flexible work options in their open job descriptions. So few companies actually discuss potential flexible work options in job descriptions, even though they mention things like competitive salary, 401(k) matches, health benefits and other more traditional work perks. If this many professionals are looking for telecommuting and flexible options in their searches, job descriptions that contain keywords about flexibility will stand out and attract more candidates."

In a similar survey from the Society for Human Resource Management, employees rated work-life balance as the third most important benefit, just behind paid time off and health care/medical benefits.