10 September, London
If you thought higher earning men to be workaholics, think again! Researchers have found that most men want to spend fewer hours at work and more time with their families even though it would cut their income.
For men breadwinners, the attraction of spending more time with their partner is as strong a pull as children’s company, the findings showed.
“The implication is that male breadwinners feel constrained from participating as fully as they desire in family life, even if they do not have children, the study said.
The common belief that higher-earning men like to work longer to build their careers is shown to be wrong by the study as it found that men who earn the majority of their household’s income were most likely to want to work less.
For the study, sociologists Shireen Kanji from the University of Leicester in Britain and Robin Samuel from the University of Bern in Switzerland analysed survey data on the working lives of more than 4,000 men in 12 European countries.
They found that around 58 percent of men breadwinners – those who earned more than their partners – were more likely to want to work less and spend more time at home, and only 15 percent wanted to work longer.
Male breadwinners with a partner and no children were as keen to work less and spend more time at home as were men with both a partner and children.
Among men who earned the same or less than their partners or were single, most also wanted to work fewer hours, though the proportion was lower than for male breadwinners.
It had been thought by some that higher earning men might be content to work longer hours because high status jobs pay well. But the research suggests that because they can afford to work less and take a pay cut, they are more willing to do so than lower-earning men.
The study appeared in the journal Sociology.