Best Careers for Family Caregivers

by Catey Hill

For the 43 million Americans taking care of another adult, climbing the corporate ladder may seem all but impossible. Now, though, help is coming from a surprising corner: Your employer.

A decade ago, few people had ever heard of corporate benefits like elder care leave and caregiving referral services. Now some 10% of companies currently provide them, a percentage experts expect to keep growing. Flex-time, which is critical for dealing with emergencies or monitoring care, is also getting more popular. Almost one in five companies say that in 2011 they plan to add or increase the amount of flex-time options they offer employees, according to a survey by executive search firm Amrop Battalia Winston.

For those that have found caregiving to be a career killer, it’s a welcome change. Nearly 75% caregivers say that they’ve had to change jobs or stop working because of the demands of caring for a family member or friend, according to a February 2011 survey by Furthermore, 40% of caregivers say that looking after someone has limited their chances to advance, according to The MetLife Juggling Act Study. All that career upheaval really hurts: The household incomes of families in which one person is a caregiver are 15% lower than those of families without a caregiver, according to the government’s Disability and American Families study.

For employers, the move is strategic. Many understand that such benefits are now needed to retain “the best and the brightest” employees – many of whom are finding themselves having to care for someone — says Kate Lister, principal consultant for Telework Research Network. A 2010 government study, “Work-Life Balance and the Economics of Workplace Flexibility,” also found that incentives like shortened work weeks and generous options for emergency leave tend to increase worker productivity, reduce turnover and save companies a significant amount of money.

Read more: Best Careers for Family Caregivers –

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