United States

Working Mother Survey Sponsored by McGladrey Reveals Majority of Executives Work Flexibly

October 15 National Flex Day spotlights new “Workflex Revolution”



A recent nationwide survey sponsored by McGladrey LLP of 1,516 working mothers on workplace flexibility found that 66 percent of executive women use formal flex arrangements, compared with 48 percent of professional/technical women and 34 percent of women in administrative positions. While 65 percent of working mothers report that they could have a flexible schedule, only 37 percent actually take advantage of it.

The "How We Flex" report, conducted by the Working Mother Research Institute, also found that:

  • Eighty percent of respondents say that flex increases their productivity, while 77 percent report increased motivation at work.
  • Forty-four percent of respondents who use flexible work arrangements say their commitment at work is challenged by their bosses and/or co-workers.
  • Women whose bosses work flexible schedules report greater job satisfaction. Of the respondents whose managers often or always work from home, 71 percent report they are satisfied with their job security/stability, compared with 65 percent of respondents whose managers do not work from home.  Fifty-five percent of respondents whose managers work from home call themselves "very satisfied" with their own work arrangements, while only 37 percent whose managers do not work flexibly report the same satisfaction. 

"The flex revolution is still in the early stages, with battles being fought over how and why we need this dramatic change to how work gets done," said Carol Evans, president of Working Mother Media. "Flexibility is the biggest shift in American working conditions since the five-day workweek. That’s why Working Mother Media is launching National Flex Day on October 15. We want to shine a bright spotlight on flex and enrich the national dialogue that has been at a high pitch all year."

"At McGladrey, we understand that our clients aren’t one-size-fits-all, and neither are our employees," said Richard Caturano, national leader of culture, diversity and inclusion for McGladrey. "Just as our clients have different needs, goals and objectives, our employees have differences, too. And when we provide our employees with the flexibility they need to get their jobs done in the most effective and efficient way possible, not only are they happier, but our clients benefit, as well. It’s a win-win."

Nationwide, a slim majority of U.S. employers — 53 percent according to the Society for Human Resource Management — offer flextime, the basic form of flex that allows workers to change their start and stop times as needed.

"Despite its popularity with working parents, flex hasn’t had a good year with three high-profile employers announcing plans to shutter or scale back some flexible work initiatives," said Jennifer Owens, editorial director of Working Mother Media. "Indeed, it’s a troubling signal that when business becomes difficult, some employers make an early cut to flexibility."

Below are more key findings from the survey:

  • Women who flex say they have found a balance between work and life (61 percent), are satisfied with how much their opinions count at work (67 percent), and are happy with their compensation (60 percent vs. 45 percent who don’t flex). A total of 76 percent of women who flex are also happy with the amount of time they spend with their kids.
  • The survey of working moms also found that 59 percent of respondents say their employers allow for flexibility in when work is done, while 53 percent say their employers allow for flex in where the work gets done.
  • The majority of telecommuting moms (67 percent) are satisfied with their flex arrangements.  Fifty-seven percent of respondents work from home on a regular schedule.

The complete "How We Flex" report can be found online.


The Working Mother Research Institute developed the national survey. Bonnier Custom Insights received and tabulated the 1,516 responses, which were analyzed by Maria S. Ferris Consulting. Of all working mothers surveyed, 72 percent work full-time, while 28 percent work part-time; 74 percent are married/partnered, 14 percent separated/divorced. The average family income of the respondents is $79,000.

About the Working Mother Research Institute (WMRI)

WMRI, a division of Working Mother Media, is home to the Working Mother 100 Best Companies, Best Companies for Multicultural Women and NAFE Top Companies for Executive Women, among other initiatives. WMRI produces benchmarking reports as well as research papers studying work life, the advancement of women and diversity and inclusion. WMRI conducts surveys throughout the year to further culture change at corporations nationwide.

About McGladrey

McGladrey LLP is the leading U.S. provider of assurance, tax and consulting services focused on the middle market, with more than 6,700 people in 75 cities nationwide. McGladrey is a licensed CPA firm and serves clients around the world through RSM International, a global network of independent assurance, tax and consulting firms. McGladrey uses its deep understanding of the needs and aspirations of clients to help them succeed. For more information, visit www.mcgladrey.com, join our Facebook fan page at McGladrey News, follow us on Twitter @McGladrey and/or connect with us on LinkedIn.

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Terri Andrews
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