Thursday, March 25, 2004

Stats on the Workweek, Parenting, and Slackerdom

On Tuesday, during my few hours of peace in Inwood library, I went took notes on the recent Time Magazine article, "The Case for Staying Home." (March 22, 2004, p.51-- 59) The article discusses "the reluctant revolt" of more women staying at home, at least for a short time. It's on the newstand now, but not on line, so I thought I would share some of the stats.

The U.S. workweek still averages around 34 hours, thanks in part to a sluggish manufacturing sector. But for those in financial services, it’s 55 hours; for top executives in big corporations, it’s 60 to 70. For dual-career couples with kids under 18, the combined work hours have grown from 81 a week in 1977 to 91 in 2002.

And with e-mail, pagers, and cell phone, most people also work at home too.

“We are now the workaholism capital of the world, surpassing the Japanese,” laments sociologist Arlie Hochschild, author of The Time Bind: When Work Becomes Home and Home Becomes Work. (Reading that now.)

72% of mothers with children under 18 are in the work force – up sharply from 47% in 1975, but has held steady since 1997. 6.4% of families, women work, but the men are unemployed. (Not clear if these were stay at home dads)

First ever drop off in workplace participation by married mothers with a child less than a year old. That figure fell from 59% in 1997 to 53% in 2000. Roughly the same in 2002. Significantly, the drop was mostly among women who were white, over 30 and well educated.

22% of women with graduate or professional degrees are home with their kids. 1 in 3 women with an MBA are not working full time.

Generational differences. A 2001 survey by Catalyst of 1,263 men and women born from 1964 to 1975 found that Gen Xers “didn’t want to have to make the kind of trade-offs the previous generation made. They’re rejecting the stresses and sacrifices,” says Catalyst’s Paulette Gerkovich. “Both women and men rated personal and family goals higher than career goals.”

Boston area marketing group, Reach, found more evidence of a shift in attitudes. Gen X moms and dads said they spent more time on child rearing and household tasks than did boomer parents (born from 1945 to 1964).

In the highest household-income bracket ($120,000 and up), Reach advisors found that 51% of Gen X moms were home full time, compared with 33% of boomer moms. But the younger moms, were far more likely to say they intended to return to work.

Go slackers!

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