On a surface level, the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ May 2024 job report seems to conflict with the consistent rise in prices for goods and services and widespread concern about the economy. According to BLS, the job pool in the U.S. increased by 272,000 jobs in May. However, the BLS’ May 2024 Economic News Release confirmed the present reality of the economy for women: When it comes to the job market, women are in a worse position than they were in May of 2023. An increase in jobs does not equate to an improvement in the overall economic condition of families today. Compared to May of 2023, more women are unemployed, and 4.9% work multiple jobs—an increase from 4.4% in May of 2023. 

Striving to find work that accommodates their families and compensates for inflation, many women desire flexible working conditions. As one-income households become less feasible in the present economy, creativity has become essential for making ends meet. For both those who must balance multiple jobs due to expenses and those who need adaptability because of children or aging parents, the traditional office job lacks practicality. 

To sustain the lifestyles sought, many women need jobs that support their pace and schedules as wives, moms, and young professionals. Women already compose 52.3% of freelance workers in the U.S. Self-employment, freelancing, or side gigs offer the flexibility to work around those priorities.

Noting the inflexibility of most jobs and the value of work environments fitted to the realistic blessings and hurdles of life, mom and CEO Regina Bethencourt suggests that some employers implement a system of accountability based on deliverables instead of the standard mechanism that requires employees to log 40 hours of “work.” As an employer, she uses this deliverable concept and persuades that her business, “…can attract untapped talent by appealing to parents who want to work for a company that understands childrearing isn’t a lifestyle choice but instead a fundamental part of healthy societies.” Work environments with understanding and supportive approaches to family time and obligations can communicate to their clients healthy values and focus their staff on outcomes over hours. Through offering flexible workdays and utilizing the deliverable method, employers may access excellent laborers once isolated from the market. 

As families struggle to adapt to this economy, they are learning to make money in innovative ways. Likewise, it’s time some employers capitalize on untapped talent by considering new concepts to outdated structures for office work. 

Most importantly, policymakers must not favor traditional 9-5 employment over flexible work by over-regulating independent contracting. For example, the Department of Labor’s new independent contracting rule makes it more difficult for self-employed people to maintain their independent status. It will lead to contractors losing work, businesses, and livelihoods. 

We must protect flexibility for women, especially as they look for ways to stay afloat in this economy.