American moms demand better work-life balance

May 10 2006 by Brian Amble Print This Article

A quarter of working mothers in the United States are unhappy with their work-life balance and actively seeking jobs that will provide them with more flexibility – even if it means taking a pay cut.

Heavy workloads and demanding schedules are increasingly taking away from critical quality time at home for working mothers, according to a survey by

For half (52 pert cent), things are so out of balance that they would be willing to take a pay cut to spend more time with their children, a significant jump from 38 percent last year.

Almost one in 10 said they would be willing to take a pay cut of 10 per cent or more.

The survey of more than 600 women working full time while caring for children under the age of 18 found that one in 10 bring work home three to five days a week.

Almost four out of 10 also admitted to missing at least two significant events in their children's lives in the last year due to work, while one in 10 have missed more than five events.

"Twenty-six percent of career moms say their jobs are negatively impacting their relationships with their children," said CareerBuilder's Mary Delaney.

"Planning ahead, prioritizing and taking advantage of flexible work arrangements can help to alleviate that tension. More than half of working moms say their companies offer flexible work arrangements, so investigate options within and outside of your organization.

"The vast majority say work style adjustments have not adversely affected their career progress," she added.

With U.S. hiring hitting its highest level since before 9/11 and a raft of data highlighting galloping rates of employee turnover, employers who still view demands for better work-life balance as a threat are quickly going to find themselves at a competitive disadvantage.

As study released last year by the Washington-based non-profit Corporate Voices for Working Families (CVWF) found, many Fortune 500 companies have already wised up to the importance of flexible working – for men as well as women - viewing it as a key management strategy that positively affects employee performance and can improve an organization's financial performance.

James S. Turley, Ernst & Young's CEO, is one of those adamant that such programmes make sense.

"A culture of flexibility is essential to helping our people at Ernst & Young to succeed personally and professionally. It is a key to retaining our people, and it is just as important to our financial results.

"In fact, we have found a direct correlation between a flexible workplace and financial success," he said.