Discover more from The CQ
The CQ: Why the “Women at Work” Conversation Has Become “Caregivers at Work”
Why the caregiving crisis snuck up on our society with such severity — and what new solutions might have the most impact
The CQ is Forerunner’s weekly newsletter rounding up the most pressing consumer news and analysis, plus some bonus musing from our investment team. Subscribe now to get the latest edition in your inbox every Saturday.
By Eurie Kim and Nicole Johnson, Partners
At Forerunner, we felt compelled to look further into the caregiving space in our latest piece, after watching it become such a pervasive socioeconomic problem that’s deeply impacting consumers — and after years of caregiving duties impacting us firsthand, along with the entrepreneurs we support. We know what it’s like to have child care resources abruptly cancel and upend our schedules, while also managing small armies of care professionals to ensure our parents and relatives are safe. These stories are far from uncommon — there are 53 million unpaid caregivers across the US spending an average of about $7,500 of after-tax dollars a year on caregiving duties (note: that’s about 25% of the average US annual salary).
What we’re most interested in is why the caregiving crisis seems to have snuck up on our society with such severity in scope and scale — and what new models and solutions might have the most profound lasting impact. So in our latest piece, Why The “Women at Work” Convo Became About “Caregivers at Work,” we dive into:
→ The inextricable ties between work, gender, and caregiving — and why those tensions are coming to a head now
→ The caregiving math problem, with the boomer generation are becoming the majority of the aging population
→ New approaches aiming to fill gaps through financial support, care coordination, healthcare solutions, and more.
With caregiving needs only projected to grow, more stable resources will be essential to getting ahead of what could otherwise be a caregiving-driven exodus of women from the workforce. We’d be eager to hear what you think of our analysis: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our Top 10 Must-Reads of the Week:
The Atlantic asks, is the concept of the broke millennial a myth? "According to Morning Consult poll last year, 45% of Millennials — compared with 35% of all adults — agreed with the statement, ‘Because of my money situation, I will never have the things I want in life.’ And 52% of Millennials said they were concerned that ‘the money I have or will save won’t last.’” But in 2019, Millennials households were making notably more money than those of past generations at the same age, after adjusting for inflation. What is it about our psychologies and the cost of living today that creates this “broke Millennial” identity?
Nike has a plan to take digital goods mainstream. Just don’t call them NFTs. Swoosh, Nike’s first big web3 play, has been signing up members (now at ~300,000), holding contests and events, and collaborating with creators in exchange for royalties — but it hasn’t been throwing around words like “crypto” and “NFT,” even though it's technically dealing with NFTs. A Nike VP says, “our approach around our virtual creations is, above all else, to provide a sense of utility and benefit, and not to be any speculative asset.”
Single women have outpaced single men as home buyers since 1981. But it hasn’t been an easy road. The Washington Post recounts the troubles that single women experience from having a harder time obtaining home loans (even though they’re typically better at paying them off than men), working with biased contractors and real estate agents, and the societal stigma of going out on their own.
Some different ways that major consumer brands are thinking about sustainability: Sephora’s take-back program hopes to help reduce hard-to-recycle product packaging from ending up in landfills, Coach has a new line of waste-scrap handbags, and Rothy’s is trying to pass a recycling bill in New York.
Gen Z is experiencing a resurgence of faith and belief in god, with almost one-third of 18-to-25-year-olds saying they believe in god or a higher power — up about one-quarter from 2021. Many say the increase is a response to the pandemic, as well as recent social unrest and economic fears. But this newfound faith does not necessarily translate to a rise of organized religion and church. Rather, Gen Z is choosing to believe in a more loosely defined deity. “Believing in God gives you a reason for living and some hope,” says one 18-year-old.
Related, just 12% of Americans say they are very happy, according to a recent poll of 1,000+ adults by The Wall Street Journal — and here’s what they have in common: a belief in God, community, close relationships and exercise. They also tend to be older.
Many young people say they work better at night. Over 25% of Gen Z and 18% of Millennials claim to be most productive from 6 p.m. to 3 a.m (vs. only 6% of Boomers who said the same). And about 70% of young workers said they would quit their job for one that gave them more control over their schedule.
NPR looks at a pool of new data that points to smartphones and social media as a prime factor of the teen mental health crisis. Over 20% of 10th grade girls spend seven or more hours a day on social media, “which means many teenage girls are doing little else than sleeping, going to school and engaging with social media.” Related, a new policy in South Korea will start paying young people to leave the house.
More on the loneliness epidemic: the author of the new book Hanging Out examines the question, “what would it look like to reconfigure our world to make social connection easier for all of us?” She says our social muscles of being around each other have atrophied, calling it “a quiet catastrophe.” (Maybe the new breed of not-exactly-coworking spaces, i.e. “friendship factories,” can help.)
Nearly 30% of Gen Z’ers and Millennials are avoiding their finances, but they’re not exactly alone in that. Almost 30% of Americans who are 59 and older have nothing set aside for retirement. Another survey discovered that 61% of Americans 18 an older don’t talk about money, even though just about the same percent think more conversation about money can lead to financial freedom and may help improve the gender pay gap.
Work at a Portfolio Company
Director, People Operations (Payroll, Compensation & Benefits) | Away: Away is a global lifestyle brand with a mission to transform travel through products and content that inspire people to get away more. Candidates for this role will have a deep understanding of payroll & tax compliance, compensation terms, national benefit plans, local compliance laws, and cultivating diverse and inclusive teams.
Assistant Apparel Product Developer | Cotopaxi: Cotopaxi is a carbon neutral certified B Corporation that creates sustainably made outdoor gear designed to inspire adventure and have a positive social, environmental, and economic impact. This role will help develop new products, with a focus on graphics and logowear.
Account Executive | Homebound: Homebound is transforming the residential construction industry by improving the costly and inefficient process of building a home — so anyone, anywhere can build a home using technology. This role is will be the primary point of contact for homeowners, acting as a listing agent on up to 60 homes per year and managing the pre-selling, showing and closing process, ensuring an exceptional customer experience.
There are ~518 other openings on our jobs site. Check ‘em out.