The New Single Majority

In 2014 the Bureau of Labor and Statistics released information stating for the first time in the history of collecting their data, singles outnumbered married adults in the workforce.

More than half of the workforce is single!

While many news agencies ran with this data the wrong way saying that “adults” are more single than they are married, we at Table for One would like to interpret this data correctly for what it is. These stats reflect 16 and older as single, yet hardly anyone but a government agency would call a 16-year-old single. With the average age of marriage for men at 29 and women at 27, it is fair to say that when we say “single” we often mean those that are not married and that categorization is singles roughly 21 and older. That does not mean this data does not have implications, it does!

# 1 Employers need to be “single” friendly with benefits.

  • Most companies offer the same benefits to all its employees except when it comes to health care. Often a company will absorb more of the cost for a family or married person than for a single adult. With mandatory health care, the benefits for singles will become more competitive with their family counterparts.

# 2 Attendance rules need to be fair regardless of your relationship status.

  • It is the weekend and you have been planning to hang out with your friends all weekend. Your married co-worker wants to spend time with family.  Then your boss calls and asks you to work since you do not have kids or a spouse. Time is valuable to everyone. Treat singles with the same policy you do for those married with kids. Period.

#3 Personal Issues while at work.

  • We all know of the co-worker who is constantly AWOL due to child-related challenges or marriage conflicts. While grace needs to be given, it too should be given for singles who have things they value that sometimes interfere with work. Again, fairness is key to the new single majority workforce.

#4 Not all singles are lonely. Stop trying to play office matchmaker.

  • You come into work to again find a co-worker encouraging you to date more and settle down and be married. All things you are painfully aware of and did not want to deal with right before giving your TPS report. Office relationships have their challenges. Make sure your employer has policies set in place for those that do date and encourage a culture that isn’t only focused on married adults with kids.

These are four ways employers can embrace the new single majority workforce creating a positive place where singles want to work.

Do you think there are more advantages to having more singles in the workforce or not?

Work/Life Balance as a Single Adult without Children

TFO - Table for One Ministries- Ministry for Singles and Leaders to Singles - Blog - Work-Life Balance as a Single Adult without Children

It’s 4:45 PM and another workday is coming to a close.  Or at least it appears that the workday is about to end until your boss calls you and Bill into his office. There is an important meeting with a potential customer the next morning and he needs one of you to stay late to help put together the presentation.  Bill is married with a family and quickly explains that he needs to go to his son’s baseball game tonight. You are single without children, but you do have a friend coming in from out of town that you were planning to meet for dinner. Guess who your boss is going to nominate to stay late?

Research supports the perception that single adults without children do not receive the same support in trying to achieve a work-life balance. In a study performed by The Aucklander, 52% of parents felt they were achieving an above average work/life balance compared with 42% of non-parents.  The study also showed that 37% of parents said they experienced above average levels of job burnout compared with 48% of non-parents. A study performed by ResearchGate found that 32% of single adults felt their supervisor was supportive of their non-work issues compared with 41% of married adults.

In my own experience, I observed an inequality in the work-life balance between singles and married adults.  After graduating college as a single adult, I began to work for a large public accounting firm. The hours were long for everyone in the firm, whether single or married.  However, most of the assignments that involved frequent travel went to those who were single rather than those who were married and starting to have families. The firm also encouraged flexible work schedules, but in practice only those with families ever seemed to take advantage of this flexibility.

Perhaps, as a single adult, you are sensing an inequality in the work-life between yourself and your married colleagues.  How should you respond?  Here are a few thoughts:

  • If you haven’t done so already, talk to your supervisor.  He/she may turn out to be supportive of your activities outside of work and be willing to provide the same flexibility given to your married colleagues.

  • If your supervisor is not supportive of your need for a work-life balance, keep a positive attitude and maintain a good work ethic. 1 Corinthians 10:31 states that we should do everything for the glory of God. Having a sour attitude or not giving our best at work does not bring glory to God or lead others to Him.

  • If the problem persists, prayerfully consider looking for another job. Remember that as a single adult, you may have the opportunity to act quicker on a new job than your married counterparts. When I left the large public accounting firm, I was able to accept another position with a company 1,000 miles away. That would have been significantly harder to do if I had been married or had children at the time.