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A new McKinsey & Co. report says companies that want to keep their employees need to be more flexible. 

The company's recent study of more than 35,000 workers with spouses or live-in partners in various professional sectors found that 89 percent of women and 70 percent of men are part of a dual-career couple (DCC) — meaning both partners have jobs. The couples come from all racial and ethnic groups and span all income levels.

"Companies can do more to base promotions and top-executive-hiring decisions on output rather than input to ensure equity for employees in DCCs," the report states. "Too many companies mistake quantity (as in the number of hours an employee spends on the job) for quality (reflected in the employee’s output)."

The report explains that companies can help employees in DCCs succeed and feel fulfilled at home and work by ensuring these employees have access to professional development and career advancement, support for maintaining work–life balance, and sponsorship opportunities.

Specifically, companies can take the following actions:

  • Provide supportive managers and ensure equitable growth opportunities, especially for lower-level workers. 

  • Encourage ambition by making top positions seem feasible. 

  • Create a culture that encourages work–life balance. 

  • Ensure consistent access to sustainable sponsorship. 

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