Since the Great Resignation, workers and employers alike have become more focused on job perks and benefits. Additionally, the pandemic has shown employees the value of their free time and work life balance, placing more emphasis on remote work options and paid time off (PTO). Essential workers have also learned to value their worth and are demanding more in the areas of workplace environment and health benefits.
It’s clear that priorities have rightfully shifted in the past few years as health and family became a primary concern for most. A paycheck is no longer enough to keep employees satisfied and companies and employees are now re-evaluating their job perks and benefits.
For Black and Latina women—both demographics that struggled more during the pandemic—the job perks and benefits center around health and wellness, work environment, and family. Many Black and Latina women worked in industries that were hit hard by the pandemic such as the food service industry, retail, and healthcare.
The struggles they faced during the height of the pandemic has informed a lot of what they are now looking for when it comes to job perks and benefits. Below are the current top 6 perks and benefits Black and Latina women report looking for the most when searching for new jobs.
6 Job perks and benefits Black and Latina women value most
According to a study conducted by WerkLabs last year, one-third of Black mothers and one-fourth of Latina mothers said they were unable to work remotely during the pandemic, compared to only one-tenth of both White and Asian mothers. Black and Latina women also continue to disproportionately struggle with the effects of the pandemic on the job market.
In the study, women of color were also more likely to report that workplaces assume working from home equates to “more time for work,” despite competing priorities of childcare and work.
Due to these struggles, Black and Latina women have come to value companies that offer remote work options on a regular basis and treat remote work fairly.
Another key benefit Black and Latina women are prioritizing in their job searches since the pandemic is healthcare.
A report on Latino healthcare found that Latinos are nearly 3 times more likely to be uninsured than non-Hispanic whites and 1 in 4 Latinos do not have health insurance. Additionally, 37% of Latinos have had someone in their household lose their employer-provided health insurance benefits during the recession, according to a survey conducted in June 2020 by Abriendo Puertas/Latino Decisions.
With the pandemic still ongoing, reliable health insurance coverage is a big priority for job seeking women, especially those with families.
Paid time off and flexible hours
Historically, people of color—especially Latinos—are less likely to have access to jobs with paid time off and flexible hours than their White non-Hispanic counterparts. This is largely a result of decades of institutionalized racism and the fact that workers of color are more likely than White workers to be employed in low-wage, low-quality jobs.
These jobs are less likely to have access to paid leave or workplace flexibility and workers often need to use paid sick days in order to care for ill children or family members. Disproportionately this task often falls on women.
COVID-19 has heightened our awareness of how important paid time off is when sick or caring for family members, making this job perk highly sought after by minority women applying to new jobs in 2022.
Paid family leave
Like the previous perk, paid family leave is another top concern for Black and Latina women. A Business Insider article reported that companies that choose to provide paid family leave have an edge when it comes to hiring.
According to the annual benefits survey by The Society for Human Resource Management, the number of employers that offered women paid maternity rested at 34% in 2019. At the same time, 30% of companies provide fathers with paid paternity leave, and 29% offer paid adoption leave.
However, the maternal wage gap is even more pronounced for moms of color. Black workers are 83% more likely than their white peers to be unable to take leave when they need it and historically, lower-earning workers are less likely to have access to paid leave.
Since many Black and Latina women were disproportionately affected by the pandemic and many worked in essential jobs such as healthcare, service, and hospitality, paid family leave was hard to come by. Now, Black and Latina women are prioritizing jobs that offer more paid family leave as part of their perks and benefits package.
Free food in the office
In the area of workplace perks, one main perk that stood out for minority women is free food in the office. A survey of 1,000 office workers found that job satisfaction rates increased from 56% to 67% when free food was in the office. These meals help to create a supportive environment and workers feel appreciated for their efforts.
Food in the office is also a great way to build engagement among teams and encourage discussions. Another positive impact of food in the workplace is an increase in productivity, happier mood, and time saved during commutes and lunch breaks.
Student loan assistance
Lastly, in the area of financial assistance, the top perk for Black and Latina women is student loan assistance.
In an NBC article about student debt forgiveness, it was reported that Black college students often take on larger amounts of student debt and are more likely to struggle to repay their loans after graduation. This debt often makes it difficult for women of color to amass savings, placing them at a disadvantage.
“Debt can be useful and good if it’s an authentic choice, but when it comes to something like student loans, with a lot of people, you don’t really have a choice. They’re faced with the prospect of low social mobility or going to college,” said Darrick Hamilton, professor of economics and urban policy at The New School.
Due to these systemic struggles, Black and Latina women are more likely to look for employers who will offer student loan assistance as part of their benefits package.
As we move forward and continue to grapple with the lasting effects of the pandemic and the Great Resignation on the workplace, it’s important that we prioritize our values and needs.
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