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Majority of parents say COVID child care duties have hurt their careers

Brianna McCain with her daughters, Lincoln Manning, 2, right, and Nyla Manning, 6, at home in Portland, Ore., Aug. 3, 2021. The rise of the Delta variant and the uncertainty over schools and child care are keeping many parents, including McCain, a former office manager, from applying for jobs.
Brianna McCain with her daughters, Lincoln Manning, 2, right, and Nyla Manning, 6, at home in Portland, Ore., Aug. 3, 2021. The rise of the Delta variant and the uncertainty over schools and child care are keeping many parents, including McCain, a former office manager, from applying for jobs.Leah Nash/NYT

More than six out of ten US adults with children under the age of 18 (62%) believe their child care and virtual schooling duties during the COVID-19 pandemic have negatively affected their ability to get ahead in their job or career, according to results from the latest American Staffing Association Workforce Monitor survey conducted by The Harris Poll. Those surveyed included 2,066 U.S. adults, including 1,070 parents and 605 parents of children under 18.

People of color are more likely to say child care duties have been a career obstacle during COVID-19. Seven in 10 Black/African American parents (70%) and 62% of Hispanic/Latino parents believe their opportunities for career advancement were negatively affected by their child care and virtual schooling duties during COVID-19, compared with 51% of White/Caucasian parents.

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The study also found that 60% of men agree that added responsibilities in caring for their children during the pandemic has hurt their careers, while 51% of women agree.

“Work–life balance became a thing of the past for many parents during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Richard Wahlquist, president and chief executive officer. “Parents are feeling left behind in their careers and in their workplaces. As businesses continue to bring employees back to office, employers need to support workers with children to ensure that they remain part of the labor force and clearly understand their options for career development and growth.”