Women help their men escape the office

Nov 27 2006 by Nic Paton Print This Article

The traditional notion of the man as the main breadwinner in a working family is increasingly being turned on its head, new British research has suggested, as professional men escape from office life thanks to the financial support of their high-earning partners.

Research by the Training and Development Agency for Schools has found that a third of men now have a partner who earns as much or more than them, making a career switch a much more feasible option.

Half of the 1,000 men polled said their partner would be able to support them through training while they changed professions.

And it is not just idle day-dreaming by the men Ė a fifth of the office-based graduate men said they were currently considering a career change, while 55 per cent said they planned to do so in the future.

Most wanted to move into more practical careers, with 62 per cent saying they would prefer a more hands-on job and 44 per cent focusing on a non-office based workplace.

The top professions favoured by graduate men considering a career change were teaching (41 per cent), science research and development (29 per cent), engineering (21 per cent), retail (19 per cent) and social work (16 per cent).

It would seem that traditional office gripes are driving the change, said the agency, with 41 per cent of men saying they were tired of office politics, 31 per cent disliking being deskbound and nearly a quarter feeling their creativity was being stifled.

With more people working in double-income relationships, money was also becoming less of a factor, with more than a third of men considering changing their career claiming it is no longer the most important factor for them.

Other lifestyle milestones included age and family, with nearly a third saying that turning 30 made them re-evaluate what they wanted from their careers, while 18 per cent said that becoming a parent made them reconsider what they wanted from their working lives.

Mike Watkins, director of teacher recruitment at the TDA, said: "Career changers are now fuelling the ranks of teachers as never before, particularly in areas where we have a high need, such as maths and science.

"This research confirms that professional men are re-evaluating what they want from a career after a few years of working life," he added.

"It's evident that the appeal of office life can wear thin and that men are looking for more than just a high salary Ė they want to make use of their skills," he said.