If you notice anything missing in your ratings, it might be the 865,000 women, who in October alone, dropped out of the U.S. workforce.
When the year started, there were more women than men in the workforce for the first time in a decade. Now, the share of women in the workforce has dropped to levels not seen since 1988.
The largest decrease is among mothers with a child between 2-6 years old. Not yet old enough to be in school full-time, the burden of childcare falls disproportionately on women, in part because of the gender pay gap, which accelerates as education and income levels rise (radio’s core, upwardly mobile audience). If someone is going to sacrifice their career to take care of the kids during the pandemic, it’s typically the one who makes less.
Even for those who don’t drop out of the workforce, the strain of childcare on women is profound. According to a recent survey of employees who work for large companies (over 500 employees), 40% “must hide their caregiving struggles from colleagues.”
WHAT THIS MEANS FOR RADIO
Insights on the female workforce are of critical importance to radio’s ongoing recovery since employment outside the home is directly connected to heavy listening.
When examining the particularly sluggish recovery of morning drive in many PPM markets, you can see gaps in the full-time employment and out-of-home listening patterns between men and women. In some cases male full-time employment is 95%-98%, while females are 25%-30% behind. That puts an increased emphasis on winning more occasions from those females who remain full-time employed.
These macro level disruptions, including up to 75% of families in hybrid or full-time remote school settings, provide reasons for ongoing optimism. Despite short term headwinds in the coming weeks due to the resurgence of COVID-19 cases, as kids eventually return to school and women get back to the workforce, we believe there are opportunities for an even stronger recovery of listening beyond the resilience we’ve seen this fall.
The challenge remains – how will your stations drive daily cume and convert increased listening to rank and revenue growth? It’s incumbent to rebuild listening habits and grow cume, not just coming out of Christmas music, but on an ongoing basis as vaccines are distributed and local restrictions are lifted.
Understanding the immense challenges of childcare on young families or older parents who according to Pew Research are seeing their grown children (18-29 year-olds) return home to live in record numbers, provides an opportunity to super serve our employed, heavy listeners. Focusing on the lives of your listeners will help you outperform the competition as well as streaming platforms built on algorithms not local companionship.
Don’t go into 2021 without a strategic growth plan. Invest time in your strategy on-air and off, so you are in a position to respond rather than react to whatever opportunities and challenges come your way. We look forward to helping you outperform the market as you drive rank and revenue growth.
On behalf of Catherine Jung, Tony Bannon, Jen Clayborn and everyone at DMR/Interactive, thank you for reading and working to drive radio forward.
President and COO