Despite an overall increase in women’s participation in the workforce, married women with a child less than one year old are leaving the workplace in droves, reports Circadian Technologies. Between 1997 and 2000, the number increased by six percent, with a high concentration among women who held graduate or professional degrees.

A study by research firm Catalyst found that one in three women with M.B.A.s are not working full time, compared to one in 20 men. Part of this trend is generational: A study by Reach Advisors showed that in the highest household-income bracket, 51 percent of “Generation X” mothers were home full-time, compared to 33 percent of baby boomers.

Work-life balance issues are a major concern for women, according to Circadian’s Acacia Aguirre, M.D., Ph.D. The Society for Human Resource Management reports that work-life balance was the single-most important factor in determining job satisfaction for women. Women who can afford to are leaving the workforce, at least for several years.

To attract these women back — and to help retain working mothers currently on staff — Aguirre advises that companies make an effort to provide a work-life-friendly environment and scheduling system.