Nearly half of fathers want a less stressful job

Quality time with the kids increasingly taking priority over their career...

Nearly half of fathers want a less stressful job

Image: International Men's Day

Discussions around achieving a work-life balance when you have children are generally had with the mother chiefly in mind, but a new study has found that men are increasingly keen to focus on parenthood over their career.

The Modern Families index found that almost half (47%) currently want to downshift to a less stressful job to help with parenting, with 38% willing to take a pay cut to achieve this better work-life balance.

Some 69% of fathers would consider their childcare arrangements before they took a new job or promotion.

A third of fathers admitted they regularly felt burnt out, with one in five having to work extra hours, according to the survey of 2,750 parents.

Central to the problem is that working fathers "feel marginalised to flexible working opportunities, due to their managers' assumption that they are the breadwinners".

The UK study also noted that mothers who worked flexibly, including part-time, tend to be sidelined or downgraded, and that there is "a gap between policy and practice with regard to flexible working" for parents in general.

When it comes to British fathers, although they still work some of the longest hours in Europe, their working hours did fall slightly from 47 hours per week in 2001 to 45 hours per week a decade later. In 2001, 40% of fathers worked over 48 hours. This was down to 31% in 2013.

When it comes to home life, fathers are conversely getting more involved.

The study states:

"While mothers tend to perform more routine family activities and be more involved with children than
fathers, it is clear that fathers’ involvement with children has grown and is growing.

"Their involvement in childcare increased from less than 15 minutes a day in the mid-1970s to three hours a
day during the week by the late 1990s. In 2005, fathers did a third of parental childcare within
households."

Earlier this month, it was revealed that just one in four Irish fathers have opted for paid paternity leave in Ireland since the scheme was launched in September.

Figures for the first three months of the scheme's operation show 3,581 claims for the two weeks of paid leave were approved from September 1st to November 31st.

The leave can be taken any time in the first 26 weeks after a child's birth, so those with children born on September 1st have until the end of February to avail of it.