women in particular expect parenthood to reduce career chances

11/02/2015 15:00

More women, young people and people with higher education than other groups expect that their opportunities on the labour market will be negatively affected if they were to become a parent. Men, too, say that parenthood would have more effect on women’s career opportunities than on those of themselves. These are some results of a study published by Statistics Netherlands this week.

Women in particular expect negative effect after birth of first child

In the group of women without children, 58 percent said they expect motherhood to harm their career.This is a much larger percentage that that for men, of whom 24 percent say they expect parenthood will be a disadvantage.These expectations correspond with the actual situation on the labour market: women with children, for example, work significantly fewer hours than men with children, and also earn significantly less per hour (based on same age and education).

High educated and young people expect most disruption from parenthood

Nearly half of people with a high education level expect their career to be negatively affected by parenthood, compared with less than a quarter of those with a low education level. More people in their twenties, too, expect drawbacks for their career; for those aged between 30 and 40 this expectation diminishes. This may be because they are further along in their career, but it may also be a result of more 30-year-olds starting to have children.

Men also expect women to be affected more

Men, too, expect that women will find parenthood more of an obstacle on the labour market than themselves. Nearly half (46 percent) of men with a female partner think that the birth of a first child will reduce the mother’s career opportunities, while only 24 percent say the same is true for themselves. According to women, the career consequences are even more unequal: over half expect their own career to be affected by parenthood, while only 15 percent say fathers will be negatively affected. For subsequent children, too, men and women expect career chances for mothers to be reduced, while having hardly any effect on fathers.

Lower educated have more problems combining work and childcare

While it is mainly those with higher education levels who expect their career to be negatively affected by having a baby, fewer of them expect problems combining children and work. Eighteen percent of workers with a high education level think they will not be able to balance family and work sufficiently to have a baby within three years; for workers with lower levels of education this is 27 percent. On average, 21 percent of both working men and women expect problems combining home and work for a first child, slightly more women than men. For a second or higher order baby this is already lower, at 11 percent. The career effect of a second or further child is alsoexpected to be smaller.