Working dads agree: Being a parent is the toughest job


Adecco USA Survey Reveals Different Perceptions of Access to Work/Life Benefits Among Working Dads, Moms & Non-Parents

MELVILLE, N.Y. (June 9, 2008) – The latest Adecco USA Workplace Insights survey commissioned in celebration of Father’s Day found that working fathers have a lot in common with working mothers when it comes to managing work/life priorities. Not only do the majority of working moms (71%) and dads (64%) agree that managing their family lives is more challenging than their careers, more than half (55%) of all working fathers think companies should do more to help them achieve a better work/life balance.  This shift in priorities reflects the reality that today’s dads are more equally sharing the family responsibilities with moms, with the most recent U.S. Census Bureau survey confirming this shift with the number of stay at home dads increasing by almost 50% over the past decade.

How do working parents’ responses stack up to their co-workers? Other key findings of the survey include:    

   Fathers  Mothers  Non-Parents

Say It’s More Challenging To Manage My Family Life Than My Career

 64% 71%   N/A
Think Companies Should Do More To Help Achieve Work/Life Balance  55%  49%  51%
Very Likely/Likely To Work Late Or Respond To E-mails After Hours  50%  43%  45%
Think Becoming A Parent Has Impacted My Career Path  45%  41%  N/A
Think They Have Same Level Of Access To Work/Life Benefits As Colleagues  70%  60%  44%

“The perception that the work/life balancing act is mainly a female struggle no longer holds up in today’s workplace," says Rich Thompson, Vice President of Training & Development for Adecco Group North America. "As moms and dads continue to more equally share responsibilities both at home and at the office, employers need to be mindful of this and ensure that they offer work/life benefits that are inclusive of both groups.  As a father, I can say firsthand that becoming a parent can enhance one’s life in a variety of ways, and career is certainly one of them if you can find the right dose of work and family balance.”

Working parents have many qualities Adecco sees as valuable to the workplace:

  • Masters of multitasking:  Helping with homework, shuttling to practices and lessons, getting dinner on the table all while keeping peace in the household – balancing all of these priorities is a constant juggling act.  Being a parent is sure to test even the best multitasker as effectively prioritizing is a necessity for moms and dads – a skill that’s just as important and crucial to success in the workplace.
  • Strengthened relationship skills:  Being a parent exposes and depends on a slew of soft skills including effective interpersonal communication, negotiation, compassion and understanding.  These same skills are crucially important to being both a successful leader and team player at the office, enabling parents to hone in and sharpen these skills to best navigate both of their domains.
  • Promoters of work/life balance:  Effectively balancing both work and life is a challenge for all workers, but can be especially daunting for parents as they’re constantly being pulled in multiple directions.  As parents face this struggle firsthand, they are often the biggest champions sponsoring access to work/life benefits for workers of all backgrounds, helping to keep balance a top priority at corporations.

For a complete copy of the Adecco Parents in the Workplace survey results please contact Anthony Guerrieri at  

Survey Methodology:

This Parents in the Workplace survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Interactive on behalf of Adecco between April 21 and April 23, 2008 among 2,138 adults ages 18+, of whom, 1,262 are employed full-time and/or part-time (“workers”), 645 are workers who are not parents or legal guardians of any children (“non-parents”), 352 are female workers who are parents or legal guardians (“working mothers/moms”) and 256 are male workers who are parents or legal guardians (“working fathers/dads”). This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. For complete survey methodology, including weighting variables, please contact Anthony Guerrieri.

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