Male employees dislike company abortion access advertising, but it boosts job applications

Male employees dislike company abortion access advertising, but it boosts job applications

Paying for Abortion Care: The Impact on Workers and Companies


In a bold move that drew fierce criticism from conservatives, hundreds of companies, including tech giants Apple, Amazon, and Uber, expressed their support for workers’ access to abortion care. However, new research shows that these announcements did more than just spark political controversy—they also had a significant impact on company dynamics and worker attitudes.

A study conducted by Indeed, in collaboration with the University of Southern California, the University of Maryland, and the IZA Institute of Labor Economics, examined the effects of public support for reproductive rights on job postings, company reviews, and management ratings. The research analyzed data from 317 companies, 2.5 million postings with wage information, and 6.5 million company reviews.

Interestingly, the study found that companies that declared their support for reproductive rights experienced an 8% increase in clicks on their job postings compared to companies that remained silent on the issue. This increase in interest from potential applicants was similar to the boost achieved by increasing advertised pay by 12%. These findings indicate that corporate messages on social issues can effectively attract talent in a competitive job market.

The positive impact of supporting reproductive rights was particularly prominent in female-dominated industries operating in states with restrictive abortion laws. Moreover, companies located in Democratic-leaning states also experienced a higher increase in job posting interest. It was observed that as companies realized the potential public backlash, they became less likely to announce support for abortion access as the number of workers in abortion-restricting states grew.

“The polarizing nature of this topic is seeping into our jobs,” says Svenja Gudell, Chief ANBLE at Indeed Hiring Lab and co-author of the study. “Workers want to bring their whole selves to work and align with companies that share their values and ideology.”

However, this alignment with companies on ideological grounds had its setbacks. The study revealed that companies supporting abortion care saw an 8% decline in reviews of senior management, specifically among male employees. This negative sentiment was most pronounced in male-dominated fields, such as software engineering, and higher-paying positions.

To mitigate the backlash from male workers, the same companies increased average pay by 4% in areas where management ratings had declined. The firms that experienced the most significant attitude problems among male workers implemented the largest pay raises. The drop in management ratings from male workers can be attributed to various factors, including cultural beliefs, political views, or preferences for businesses to remain apolitical. Additionally, some male employees may feel resentful that others are benefiting from a generous reproductive health care benefit that they cannot utilize directly.

It is worth noting that access to abortion care has a substantial impact on women’s economic participation. Research has shown that being able to end an unwanted pregnancy increases women’s pay and likelihood of completing college, and reduces child poverty rates. Conversely, women who are denied abortion care are more likely to experience financial difficulties and file for bankruptcy.

While corporate pledges regarding reproductive rights are commendable, they cannot replace the need for comprehensive public policy. Svenja Gudell emphasizes that these corporate benefits should not substitute for guaranteed state or federally mandated access to healthcare. Furthermore, it is crucial to address the fact that higher-paid jobs are more likely to offer these benefits, benefiting those who are least likely to require financial assistance when seeking abortion care. Without broader policy changes, issues arising from corporate pledges in this area are likely to persist.

In conclusion, the decision by numerous companies to publicly support workers’ access to abortion care sparked both interest from potential applicants and discontent among some male employees. While companies saw a significant increase in job posting clicks, they also experienced a decline in ratings of senior management, primarily from male workers. The impact on worker attitudes, both positive and negative, highlights the influence of aligning corporate values with social issues. However, the study findings underscore the need for comprehensive public policies to ensure everyone has equal access to healthcare, regardless of their place of employment or the individual stance of organizations.

Reference: Fortune