Fields in the Permian Basin flow with more oil and natural gas than anywhere else in the world, yet the employees working in them live in a child care desert.
Four major competitors — Anadarko Petroleum Corporation, Chevron U.S.A., EOG Resources and Occidental Petroleum — recognized this issue and recently joined forces to provide a resource that’s a scarcity for working parents in the area: high-quality, accessible child care.
United by their understanding of the importance of early education, the companies looked to Primrose on Premise® — the employer-sponsored extension of industry leader Primrose Schools® — for a solution. Ultimately, the four companies came together to support the opening of Primrose School of Midland at Westridge. The school, which opened in April 2019, is located at the intersection of all four corporations’ Permian headquarters and will provide premium early education and care for 240 children at full capacity.
You don’t have to look far to see how access to child care became a major issue for the region. In 2018, the Permian Basin experienced the largest population growth in the U.S., and the employment rate increased more than seven times the national average thanks to the booming oil and gas industry.
As new families are drawn to West Texas for employment, the area’s exponential growth has created a critical challenge: job openings are outpacing child care center openings. More than 1,400 children were on daycare waitlists in the Midland area last year. Some communities lack a licensed child care provider altogether, and some have so many young children that infants and toddlers outnumber licensed daycare spots by up to 44 to one.
This imbalance creates an economic strain on the community, forcing many dual-income families to have one parent stay home as a caregiver. And, in this case, it also encouraged major employers in the area to consider offering employer-sponsored child care — both to help address this critical need and also ensure that employee benefits would remain competitive enough to drive successful recruitment and retention efforts across the region.
When child care is inaccessible or expensive, women are often the ones to leave their careers to serve as their child’s primary caregiver. For oil and gas companies, this exacerbates a gender diversity issue that has plagued the energy sector. In the U.S., women currently comprise 47% of the total workforce, but only 15% of the oil and gas sector. The industry has consistently struggled to attract and retain female talent, especially in STEM roles.
With a significantly lower number of women entering the field compared to other energy sectors, the oil and gas industry is also failing to attract and retain young talent. Some of the most common reasons women voluntarily exit the workforce include limited career opportunities, lack of flexibility and lack of effective sponsorship and mentoring.
As a growing number of Fortune 500 energy companies recognize the need to offer family-friendly benefits to attract and retain top talent, notable corporations have sought the expertise of leading early education and care provider Primrose Schools to help them develop customized solutions. By working directly with the company’s employer-sponsored child care division, Primrose on Premise, Anadarko Petroleum Corporation, Chevron U.S.A., EOG Resources and Occidental Petroleum aligned in an unprecedented way to provide a benefit that not only helps their employees but advances the entire community.
“As we look to the future of the energy industry, we know Midland-based employees will continue to play a key role in driving the long-term success of the Permian and Delaware Basin,” said Chad McAllaster, Vice President of Development for the Delaware Basin at Anadarko Petroleum Corporation. “We want top-notch talent to see Midland as a career destination, and by providing premier early education and care, we reinforce that commitment by helping to deliver an exceptional quality of life for employees and their families.”
Mark Grommesh, the President and General Manager of Permian resources and the Midland Basin for Occidental Petroleum, added, “We take care of our employees who live, work and raise their families here. When we help ease the demands of everyday life through programs like this one, our employees have the support they need to enjoy and advance their careers.”
In addition to the investment these four companies made in Primrose School of Midland at Westridge, Primrose also recently worked with Apache Corporation to open another Primrose on Premise location in Midland in late 2018.
These companies know that offering employer-sponsored early education and care as part of their benefits packages addresses a critical need for working parents while contributing to the overall growth of their organizations. A Child Care Aware study published in 2018 showed companies that sponsor such perks enjoy a competitive advantage and a high ROI, including:
- Reduced turnover: Access to reliable child care can reduce employee turnover by 60%.
- An advantage in recruiting millennials: 83% of millennial parents reported they would leave their job for one with more family-friendly benefits.
- Diminished turnover among working mothers: Women who receive assistance for child care costs are 40% more likely to still be with the company two years later.
- Reduced absenteeism: 54% of employers say child care services had a positive impact on employee absenteeism.
The benefits of employer-sponsored child care are undeniable, and this offering is becoming increasingly important to both companies and employees across the country. Truly, the Permian Basin embodies the critical need for early education and care impacting countless communities across the country – and Anadarko Petroleum Corporation, Chevron U.S.A., EOG Resources and Occidental Petroleum should be commended for championing this employee benefit in Midland and providing much-needed support for working parents and their families.
At Primrose Schools, we want to be a part of the solution. Primrose has more than 35 years of expertise and a track record of success in more than 400 schools nationwide. Through Primrose on Premise, we’re proud to bring premier employer-sponsored early education and care, as well as our exclusive Balanced Learning® approach, to companies leading the charge to address an urgent need for working parents and across America.
To learn more about Primrose on Premise employer-sponsored child care, visit PrimroseSchools.com/OnPremise.