Last year, the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, leaving the decision on women’s access to abortion up to individual states. In response, some companies announced that they would subsidize travel for employees who needed to leave their state to end a pregnancy. However, a recent study has found that this decision has resulted in a “complicated trade-off” for businesses.
On one hand, there was a significant increase in interest in jobs at companies that offered abortion travel assistance. These companies saw an 8% increase in clicks on job postings compared to similar companies that did not have such policies. Many of these clicks came from liberal-leaning states, as well as states that immediately banned abortion after the Supreme Court ruling. The spike in interest was primarily seen in jobs typically held by women.
To put this increase in perspective, the researchers noted that an 8% increase in clicks is equivalent to the interest generated by a 12% increase in posted wages. However, on the other hand, companies with abortion-friendly policies also experienced backlash. Glassdoor reviews of senior managers at these firms declined by 8%, often coming from reviewers in male-dominated jobs who used the term “woke” to criticize these policies. This negative surge in reviews is comparable to the fallout from revelations of corporate misconduct or tax avoidance.
The study, which was compiled by economists at Indeed.com, the University of Southern California, the University of Maryland, and the nonprofit IZA Institute of Labor Economics, analyzed data from 3 billion clicks by job seekers, 2.5 million job postings with wage information, and 6.5 million company reviews.
The researchers found that companies offering abortion travel assistance ultimately increased their posted wages by 4%. This increase in wages may have been a way for management to pacify employees who were upset with the abortion subsidies.
The study highlights the challenges that companies face when addressing politically divisive topics. With a patchwork of abortion laws across the country and some states restricting or outright banning the procedure, companies are stepping in to fill the void. These policies not only send a message to their own employees but also to customers.
The cost of traveling for an abortion is not insignificant, with an average cost of $4,500 and a range from $1,000 to $10,000. However, it’s important to note that companies offering financial assistance for abortion-related travel are typically offering higher-paying jobs. This means that low-income women who cannot afford to travel for an abortion may not have access to these job opportunities in the first place.
In conclusion, the study emphasizes the polarizing nature of politically charged issues in the workplace. Job seekers are increasingly interested in understanding a company’s stance on these issues and its overall culture. With ongoing debates and legal battles over abortion access, companies are navigating a complex landscape in their efforts to attract and retain employees.