U.S. working parents are finally feeling optimistic post-pandemic—but still worry about economic instability

October 20, 2022, 1:01 PM UTC
Parents are feeling more optimistic as the impacts of the pandemic ease up.
monkeybusinessimages/Getty Images

As the COVID-19 pandemic wanes, U.S. parents are finally feeling more optimistic. Even more so than their international counterparts, particularly when it comes to their jobs and work-life balance. 

The U.S. may not have universal childcare or federal paid family leave, but 81% of American working parents reported they were optimistic about their personal well-being over the next six months. That’s compared with 68% of international parents, according to a survey conducted by Adobe in August that included workers in the U.S., the U.K., France, Germany, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, and India. 

U.S. parents surveyed were, perhaps surprisingly, also more positive about their productivity levels and their work-life balance compared with international parents, according to the survey of 10,000 managers and employees at companies of all sizes.

When it comes to the companies they work for, American parents are more likely to agree that they understand their organization’s purpose and have similar values. Yet the shift to digital tools is universal: 70% of working parents say they “rely on digital tools for peace of mind at work.”

Being a working mother herself, says Lisa Croft, director of digital media product enablement at Adobe, it isn’t surprising that it feels as if parents are finally turning the corner. “The past several years have ushered in a new era at work, including many positive changes for parents. Many employers stepped up to offer more parent-friendly workplaces with solutions from flexible work schedules to childcare benefits,” she writes in a blog post on the new research

But while there’s been some improvement in working parents’ optimism levels, many are worried about macro problems heading our way like economic instability—and more so than most international parents. About three-quarters (76%) of U.S. parents, for example, are worried about layoffs and market volatility compared with just 67% of international parents. American working parents also report being worried about U.S. politics, the upcoming elections, crime rates, and gun violence far more than their global counterparts. 

These fears, of course, negatively impact work productivity and job satisfaction, for about 80% of parents surveyed, no matter what country they call home. 

To help working parents stay on track and in their seats, Adobe’s analysis shows that companies should invest in digital tools, a purpose-driven culture, and well-being benefits. Nearly eight in 10 employees (78%) look for a supportive work culture to motivate them to stick around. 

“Change is the new constant in the workplace,” Croft notes. “As companies look to support their entire staff—including working parents of the 83.2 million U.S. families—they must consider where they can improve processes, use better technology, and offer flexibility and well-being benefits to improve the employee experience while making teams more resilient, efficient, and collaborative.”

Sign up for the Fortune Features email list so you don’t miss our biggest features, exclusive interviews, and investigations.

Read More

Great ResignationCompensationReturn to WorkCareersLaborSuccess Stories