SMW Certified: Best Companies for Single Women

By Paula Santonocito

What does it take to be designated a SingleMindedWomen.com employer-of-choice?
 
It’s more than one or two benefits offerings that make an organization stand out as a single-women friendly employer.
 
Based on a review of companies that responded to SingleMindedWomen.com’s first annual survey, it’s clear some employers have a comprehensive strategy that considers women.
 
The SingleMindedWomen.com 2008 survey asked about flexible work arrangements, work-life benefits, family-friendly benefits, mentoring, networking, and advancement opportunities for women.
 
From among organizations that responded to SingleMindedWomen.com’s first annual survey, four employers were deemed “SMW Certified”; that is, single-women friendly.
 
And not only large employers made the grade.
 
Small but Mighty
 
With only 375 employees, Lynx Aviation, a Colorado-based regional passenger airline that is a startup subsidiary of Frontier Airlines Holding Inc., has a number of benefits that benefit single-minded women.
 
Flexible work arrangements, extended leave for the birth or adoption of a child, and elder care assistance are among the company’s offerings.
 
Lynx also shows its commitment to women through its education and training programs. What’s more there’s evidence the path leads to advancement. Women hold senior management and board positions at Lynx Aviation.
 
Size Doesn’t Matter
 
Another small organization, the Housing Department of the University of Waterloo in Waterloo, Ontario, also proves that an employer doesn’t have to be large to offer a lot.
 
Although the organization has only 150 employees, SingleMindedWomen.com deems it a best workplace for single women.
 
The Housing Department of the University of Waterloo has women on its senior management team, and it offers an array of benefits to support women. This family-friendly employer provides extended time off for the birth or adoption of a child, elder care assistance, and flexible work arrangements. Other benefits include financial and/or legal counseling and education and training opportunities.
 
Extending Hospitality
 

Hyatt Hotels & Resorts is a giant in the hospitality industry, and that hospitality extends to women employees.
 
Hyatt’s benefits, like flexible work arrangements and an employee assistance program (EAP), accommodate the daily needs of women workers.
 
But it’s in the area of career development where Hyatt really makes room for women. The company provides formal education and training, and it also has networking and mentoring groups for women.
 
Hyatt’s senior management team includes women, as does its board of directors.
 
Star Power
 
Women have the chance to become stars at American Multi-Cinema Inc. Okay, maybe it isn’t Hollywood, but a career with this employer may offer the next best thing.
 
American Multi-Cinema which operates as AMC Theatres, focuses on advancement for women by providing education and training and offering a mentoring program.
 
The company also has other benefits aimed at supporting women workers, including an EAP and extended leave for the birth or adoption of a child.
 
Seal of Approval
 
American Multi-Cinema, Hyatt Hotels & Resorts, the Housing Department of the University of Waterloo, and Lynx Aviation will each receive an SMW Certified seal, which they can display at their careers site and use when they post open positions at job boards. The seal includes the award year, 2008.
 
These award recipients will also be featured in a special section on the homepage of the SingleMindedWomen.com Career channel. Each employer’s name will link to its careers site.
 
“This no-cost annual award recognizes single-women friendly employers,” says Allison O’Connor, co-founder of SingleMindedWomen.com. “It is intended to help employers promote themselves to single women job seekers, and to help single women identify organizations where they might wish to work.”
 
SingleMindedWomen.com believes employers should consider this demographic.
 
Single women represent 54 percent of all women in the workforce, according to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data. This majority of the female workforce often has challenges different from married women. A report released this summer by the Democratic staff of the Joint Economic Committee of the U.S. Congress, for example, finds one-quarter of all children are raised by single mothers.
 
SingleMindedWomen.com intends to offer its best companies survey each fall and award SMW Certified annually.