64% of parents fail to strike ‘good’ balance between career and family, says survey

Study released in advance of Family Day on January 31st aims to examine the impact of careers on modern parenting.

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January 26, 2014 16:53
3 minute read.
Back to school.

Back to school Arab family 370. (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post)

More than 60 percent of parents feel that balancing parenting and a career negatively affects their family, a survey released Sunday has found.

The survey – released in advance of Family Day on January 31 by the Women’s International Zionist Organization (WIZO) and the lobby for Parenting in the age of Careers – aims to examine the impact of careers on modern parenting relationships.

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The study was conducted by Panels research institute via an online survey January 18-22, 2014, among 512 parents of children up to age 18 living in Jewish communities in Israel. The results reflect a 4.4% margin of error.

According to the results, 65% of parents said their work and/or course of their career changed following the establishment of their family – 73.7% of mothers compared to 56.1% of fathers. Only 23% of parents felt they were able to maintain a “good balance” between family and career whereby neither side was negatively affected.

Of the parents surveyed, less than half (49%) said they spent time with their children five times a week in the afternoons (64.5% of mothers compared to 33.2% of fathers), while 60% of parents (78% of mothers and 41.5% of fathers) said they eat dinner with their children five times a week.

The study also showed that 59% of parents would support a system whereby their employer allows for more flexible office hours and the ability to work from home. As such, 45.5% of parents said they nonetheless continued to work from home at least three times a week at the expense of time spent with their children.

However, when parents were asked if they would support a shorter working day at the expense of lowered salary, the responses were mixed. Nearly half – 45.9% – of parents were opposed to taking a salary hit in exchange for a shorter work day, while 41% approved.

The results further showed that women were much more open to this idea, as 46.7% approved compared to 35.2% of men. In contrast, 53.8% of men were opposed to the idea compared to 38.2% of women.

“We all pay a heavy price for the lack of adjustment of the labor force to families.

The government, employers, and social organizations must come together and promote an organizational culture that views the family as the secret power of the worker, not as a nuisance or disturbance. Unfortunately, today women still bear the main responsibility for family care, and so adjusting the labor market to parents will also promote equal opportunities for women,” said Prof. Rivka Lazovsky, chairwoman of the World WIZO executive, who initiated the survey.

According to Lazovsky, one of the most important solutions to balance work and family is the establishment of public daycare centers, similar to those run by WIZO. The chairwoman also explained that currently the demand for daycare is double the supply, which presents a barrier for parents who want to enter the workforce.

“We call upon the government to lead a national program policy for supporting families – one that will balance between home and work, and will enable all of us to live in dignity and also raise our children,” added Lazovsky.

The survey was released in conjunction with a joint “Parenting in the age of Careers” lobby and WIZO conference on Sunday which addressed the challenges of parenting and the difficulty in balancing family and career.

The conference also proposed solutions that the state and private sectors can adopt to provide relief for parents and promote a labor market that supports the family.

Among the participants at the conference were Amit Lang, director-general of the Economy Ministry, and Anna Buber-Farovich, human resources manager- Google Israel.

“We began a process of conceptual change that aims to balance the Israeli labor market and make it a friendlier place for parents. Unfortunately, we have reached an extreme point whereby the intensity of the labor market harms the family unit.

“I believe that a strong family core is the basis for a strong community and durable society. The value of the family must return to be a central value in our world view, and when that happens, everyone will benefit: parents, children, employers, the economy and Israeli society,” said MK Cabel (Labor) – who leads the lobby for “Parenting in the age of Careers” – ahead of the conference.


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