Global Men’s Study reveals men are equally concerned with work-life integration
May 18, 2011 – Washington, DC – Results from a research study of employees around
the world conducted in the fall of 2010 reveal that, when it comes to work and family,
men and women are more alike than different. This finding conflicts with a widely held
assumption that male identity is rooted in work whereas women place a higher priority
on personal/family life.
The Global Study on Men and Work-Life Integration sought to understand how
organizations can remove the stereotypes and barriers that prevent men from utilizing
work-life offerings as well as what prevents leaders and managers, who are often men,
from supporting the use of work-life options. Findings include:
Work and Personal Identity – In terms of work identification and personal/family
identity, there is little difference among generations or between men and women.
Instead, the tangible difference can be found between emerging and developed
countries, with work identification registering much higher in emerging markets than in
Managing Work and Family Life – Finding time for family is especially challenging for
men, and both men and women seek more personal time for exercise and hobbies. In
terms of solutions, flexible work arrangements dominate the list of most valued options
for both men and women.
Financial Stress – Financial stress is a top work-life issue across country and gender,
and the top issue for most. Employees increasingly spend part of their on-the-job time
addressing financial concerns. Employers can ease this stress by increasing employee
assistance programs, offering financial counseling programs, and being as transparent
as possible about the corporate financial situation and job security.
Leadership Attitudes – Business leaders around the world have bought into the
business case for work-life effectiveness and have programs and policies in place.
However, these programs are often ineffective because managers still cling to the notion
that the “ideal worker” is an employee with few personal commitments. Half of managers
in the emerging markets and four in 10 managers in developed markets believe that the
most productive employees are those without a lot of personal commitments.
Organizational Culture – Even executives who say they are committed to work-life
integration often believe the risks of implementing such programs outweigh the benefits.
When companies do have programs in place, both men and women report penalties for
using work-life benefits. Employees in emerging markets are almost three times more
likely to experience a penalty for using flexible work arrangements and/or other work-life
options than those in developed markets.
“Working men and women around the world seek the same holy grail: success in
both their work and family lives,” said Kathie Lingle, WLCP, executive director of
WorldatWork’s Alliance for Work-Life Progress. “The assumption that male identity
is rooted in work and not family is a major impediment to the effective integration of
employees’ work and family lives.”
“Leaders must give voice to their own stories of work-life integration, warts and all,”
said Peter Linkow, president of WFD Consulting. “This would be a powerful step toward
reducing employees’ fears that utilizing the benefits they have been given will jeopardize
their careers. This is especially important in a climate where financial stress and job
security are top-of-mind for workers.”
About the Study
WFD Consulting and WorldatWork’s Alliance for Work-Life Progress (AWLP) partnered
on this study, which WFD conducted in November and December 2010. The study
surveyed more than 2,300 men and women working in organizations with 500 or more
employees. Respondents came from three emerging countries: Brazil, China and
India; and three developed countries: Germany, the United Kingdom and the United
States. To better understand the findings, WorldatWork convened a group of work-life
professionals, corporate leaders, fathers and others to discuss the study’s findings and
outline a set of recommendations.
About WFD Consulting
WFD Consulting (www.wfd.com), based in Boston, is a management consulting firm with
over 25 years of experience developing and implementing work-life, diversity and talent
management solutions for Fortune 500 companies, government agencies, and colleges
and universities. WFD’s action-oriented solutions are based on sound research and
measurement, draw on its extensive global experience and emphasize innovation.
About WorldatWork’s Alliance for Work-Life Progress®
WorldatWork’s Alliance for Work-Life Progress advances work-life as part of an
integrated total rewards strategy. This alliance defines and acknowledges best practices
and innovation, facilitates dialogue, and elevates work-life thought leadership. Each
year, the alliance leads a national awareness initiative celebrating October as National
Work and Family Month. Recognizing that work-life encompasses a wide array of
programs, the WorldatWork Society of Certified Professionals established the Work-Life
Certified Professional (WLCP®) designation in 2007.