5 Reasons why Businesses are Investing in Young Children
While attending ReadyNation’s 2013 National Business Leader Summit in Atlanta, at which senior business people voiced their support for more investment in the young children of the United States, I realised that there are essentially five reasons I hear from business leaders to explain why they have decided to invest in young children.
1) Promoting the brand. Customers feel good about buying products that stand for a greater good. Making it known that the business is investing in young children can be a powerful motivator to steer customers towards some products over others.
2) Employee loyalty. Recognising the needs of employees with young children – for example, by providing or subsidising high quality day care – is a very effective weapon in retaining top talent in a firm.
3) Employee productivity. Absenteeism reduces and productivity rises when firms invest in employees’ young children, making it possible for parents to go to work every day with peace of mind.
4) Workforce development. Studies have found that adults who participated in early childhood education programmes are 80% more likely to attend college; high quality early childhood education increases employability by 23%; and adults who attended early childhood education programs earn, on average, 33% higher salaries.
5) National competitiveness. Already there is a shortfall of graduates with the right skills – for example, the US requires an estimated 100,000 engineers right now, but only 40,000 graduated this year. As the US doesn’t make the top 10 or even top 20 in global lists of developed countries’ investment in young children, without action now the skills gap is likely to be wider still in a generation’s time.
Note that the first three reasons require no altruism at all – they make sense even for a business which considers only its own bottom line. And the last two reasons fit squarely within a broader conception of self-interest, one which takes a long-term view and recognises that any business depends for its success on having a highly-educated pool of potential future employees.
With so much overlap between what is good for business and what is good for young children, it’s no wonder so may business leaders are signing the ReadyNation Pledge.