1 in 3 dads change jobs after baby for work/life balance, new survey

1 in 3 dads change jobs after baby for work/life balance new survey
1 in 3 dads change jobs after baby for work/life balance new survey Photo: SHUTTERSTOCK

Modern fathers are changing jobs after having a baby in the search for a better work/life balance, according to a new report which highlights the tensions dads are feeling in the workplace.

Commissioned by parenting website daddilife, in conjunction with Deloitte UK, the Millennial Dad at Work report found that one in three dads had changed jobs since welcoming a baby while another third were actively looking.

As part of the report, 2000 working dads from a range of industries were interviewed about some of the challenges they face as they juggle home and work life. It came after earlier research highlighted, "a growing gap between dads' desire for a different shape of work and the age-old stereotypes and beliefs that 'dads should just be at work."

And the results are telling.

"The majority of Millennial fathers have a different role at home to that which may have been the cultural norm for generations gone by," the authors write, adding that "87 per cent are either mostly or fully involved in day-to-day parenting duties."

Workplaces, however, remain out of touch when it comes to supporting flexible work arrangements for dads.

"Fathers regularly experience tension from their employers in trying to balance work with their new parenting role," the report notes, adding that leaving "on-time" is the biggest source of tension for over one-third of fathers. This is followed by taking time off for their child's appointments or to go on holiday.

Dads are asking for flexibility, but it's being turned down.

While 40 per cent of fathers had requested a change in working hours, almost half had been declined. "This is incredibly important to note for employers, especially those who may still believe flexibility and 'family friendly' policies only impact women, and are not in the realm of interest for men," the authors note.


Of particular concern is the finding that 37 per cent of men say their mental health is negatively affected as a result of trying to achieve the right balance between work and parenting.

"The insights have surprised and at times shocked as to the scale of change needed," the report concludes. "More new dads want a different role at home compared to what may have been the cultural norm in generations gone by.

And while organisations do appear to be recognising the greater role of dads in the home, more work needs to be done to ensure dads can succeed in both areas.

"With 2/3 of dads having already either changed jobs or actively looking to change them, the need to genuinely act on this is now more urgent than ever the report notes.

"Greater flexibility at work is at the heart of the Millennial father's work/life balance goals, and in its absence, more than a 1/3 are feeling the effects, not just physically but mentally. We now need organisation leaders, line managers and HR to converge on this topic if we want to strive for genuine equality at work."

But does the research fit with the experience of Aussie working dads?

According to Australian organisation, Circle In, which was established to improve the lives of working parents, the answer is - yes.

A 2018 Circle In survey of over 300 dads' experience of parental leave found that less than half (47 per cent) believed that their workplace was supportive in encouraging fathers to take leave after having a baby, while 40 per cent of men believed that their organisation's parental leave policy wasn't equal (not offering the same amount of parental leave) for men and women. 

"Combining a career and children has become the new normal in Australian society in only a few generations," says Kate Pollard, Circle In Co-founder. "We need to strive for equality at home and in the workplace. We believe men participating equally in parental leave will have the single biggest positive impact for women."


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