IU Study on kids and a career: Traditional role models still largely exist
A representative survey by IU International University of Applied Sciences still reveals significant differences between the sexes in some cases
A key finding of the second part of the IU study is that having children continues to have a greater impact on women than on men: according to the study, 19.4 per cent of the working women surveyed stated that they had realigned their career goals due to parenthood.
- Almost twice as many working women as men reorganise their career goals due to parenthood.
- More than nine out of ten state that they have been on parental leave alone or have taken the majority of their parental leave.
- For almost half of the men who expect disadvantages such as financial losses during parental leave, these disadvantages would be a reason not to take parental leave.
- Men are more likely than women to want to earn more money in order to provide their children with a certain standard of living.
- Almost a third of working women state that they take on all the care work.
Erfurt, Germany, 29 November 2023. The first part of the representative IU study "Work and career. Equal opportunities for all?" revealed some clear differences between women and men in management positions. But what happens to the careers of women and men (*) when children come into their lives is shown in the second part of the IU study "Kids and a career. Compatible for everyone?".
A key finding of the second part of the IU study is that having children continues to have a greater impact on women than on men: according to the study, 19.4 per cent of the working women surveyed stated that they had realigned their career goals due to parenthood. Among working men, the figure is only 11.3 per cent.
Children are more likely to lead to a career break for women than for men: more than three times as many women (11.4 per cent) as men (3.2 per cent) have given up their management responsibilities due to the birth of a child.
However, working women rate the skills they have gained through motherhood higher than men: 54.4 percent of women compared to 41.1 percent of men believe that working parents can bring better organisational skills to their everyday working life in terms of their parenting skills. The situation is similar with time management (51.0 per cent of women vs. 41.0 per cent of men) or the ability to multitask (36.7 per cent of women vs. 24.2 per cent of men).
"Children change careers - that is often the case. Reasons for this include the reorganisation of priorities and the development of new soft skills that can be used in the job. As women continue to take parental leave much more frequently, they benefit particularly from these changes," says Prof Dr Alexandra Wuttig, Chancellor of IU International University of Applied Sciences and Professor of Innovation and Entrepreneurship.
Men take far less parental leave, probably mainly for financial reasons
Other major differences between working fathers and mothers can also be seen in the take-up and distribution of parental leave: although each parent has been legally entitled to up to 36 months of parental leave since 2007 (**), women take parental leave more often than men: 71.3 per cent of women compared to 28.3 per cent of men with child(ren) have taken parental leave at least once.
According to the Parental Leave Act, parental leave can be split between the parents, taken consecutively or in parallel. However, the IU study shows that 96.1 per cent of women and only 18.9 per cent of men have taken parental leave alone or for the most part. Two thirds of men even stated that their partner took the majority of their parental leave.
One reason why men take parental leave comparatively rarely could be financial concerns: 45.1 per cent of the women and 37.4 per cent of the men surveyed believe that taking parental leave has or could have a negative impact on them. And for 46.7 per cent of men who believe that parental leave has disadvantages, these would be a reason not to take parental leave in the first place. This contrasts with 25.2 per cent of women.
Companies offer flexibility above all
It is interesting to note that just as many working women as men - more than two thirds in each case - state that taking parental leave is well regarded and supported in their company.
However, a different picture emerges when it comes to the specific measures offered by companies: More than four out of five respondents state that their company offers some flexibility in terms of work organisation. Women primarily mention the possibility of flexible working time models, men most frequently mention flexible working hours and forms of work.
Only a few companies offer support with childcare: Only a few of the respondents (9.7 per cent of women and 12.9 per cent of men) state that they are supported by their companies when it comes to childcare.
Men see themselves more often in the classic provider role
More time for the family - this is the most frequently cited reason for adjusting career goals due to parenthood among the working mothers (67.3 per cent) and fathers (66.8 per cent) surveyed. Many respondents (50.6 per cent of women; 44.4 per cent of men) also stated that children and parenthood had changed their priorities.
The biggest difference between the sexes (*) is in terms of money: 42.5 per cent of men want to earn more money in order to provide their children with a certain standard of living. Only 26.7 per cent of working women say the same.
"Parenthood often reinforces role models that literally played no role before starting a family. Fathers want to earn more money, women rethink their career goals. Social pressure, structures and clichés reinforce these individual tendencies and behaviours, which are still reflected in employment rates and career paths years later," explains Prof. Dr. Malte Martensen, MBA course director and Professor of Human Resources & Organisation at IU International University of Applied Sciences.
Almost a third of women are solely responsible for childcare
The inequalities and discrepancies are also evident in the division of care work: 30.2 per cent of women state that they do all the care work and a further 40.8 per cent of working women state that they do most of the care work. 23.8 per cent of women and 37.0 per cent of men stated that care work was shared equally between their partners. It is interesting to note that men rate the division of care and housework as "equally shared" more often than women.
ABOUT THE STUDY
The study "Children and careers - compatible for everyone?" by IU International University of Applied Sciences shows what happens to the careers of women and men as soon as children enter their lives and how this affects women in particular. For the study, IU surveyed 4,480 people between the ages of 16 and 65 who are in employment, representative of the German labour market by age and gender (*).
The complete study is available for download here.
The study is the second part of a series of studies. The first part, entitled "Work and career. Equal opportunities for all?" was published in October.
(*) Although gender requires more than a binary classification into female and male, the data currently available for such an analysis is limited. In general, the numbers are too small to allow for a breakdown by additional variables. For this reason, gender is only considered in a binary system in this study.
(**) According to the Federal Act on Parental Allowance and Parental Leave, there has been a statutory right to parental leave since 2007. Each parent is entitled to parental leave until the child reaches the age of three. The survey also includes men and women whose children were born and raised at an earlier age. The parental allowance/parental leave regulations applied to them.
With over 130,000 students, IU International University of Applied Sciences (IU) is the largest university in Germany. The private, state-recognised educational institution with its headquarters in Erfurt began operations in 2000 and is now represented in more than 35 German cities. Students from over 190 nations design their studies according to their needs: whether practice-integrated dual studies, flexible distance learning or individual “myStudium”, which combines online self-study and campus life. IU wants to give people worldwide access to personalised education for a fulfilled and self-determined life. In more than 250 bachelor's, master's and MBA programmes, including over 50 in English, IU teaches students key skills relevant to the future. A digitally supported learning environment and the use of AI solutions help students to achieve optimal learning results and experiences. IU is one of the first universities in the world to have developed and deployed its own AI-supported learning buddy. IU cooperates with over 15,000 companies and supports them in the academic training of professionals. Partners include Motel One, Vodafone, AWO and Deutsche Bahn. Further information at: iu.org
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