What will the working habits of families in Germany look like in the future? A new survey has given us a good idea. As well as wanting childcare to be more equally distributed, mothers and fathers in Germany want to work more flexibly and fewer hours.
More and more people in Germany desire a working life that is responsive to the needs of young families, and for childcare duties to be more equally weighted between parents, a new study by the opinion research institute Forsa has shown. The study, which was made available to the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, interviewed working childless people, aged between 29 and 40, who could imagine starting a family.
The results show that, especially in the early years, the majority of both men and women would prefer to work less and spend more time caring for their new child. The study also found that a full 94 percent of men surveyed planned to take parental leave and the parental allowance, and half wanted to take more time than the two months that the father is typically entitled to.
However, old habits and customs can prove hard to break: the survey showed that people still have quite entrenched attitudes as to how much men and women should work after the birth of a child. Long working hours were considered far more desirable for fathers than for mothers, while only one in 10 women could imagine staying home for less than six months after giving birth.
Just under half of those surveyed thought that fathers should work more than 32 hours a week (the average full-time working week in Germany is somewhere between 36 and 40 hours), while only 12 percent said the same for mothers.
Nonetheless, change is in the air: around half of men and women wanted parental leave to be equally shared between parents, with 38 percent saying that the ideal situation would be for both parents to work part-time jobs. Six out of 10 participants considered it ideal for mothers to work between 15 and 32 hours per week, and just under half were in favour of the same working pattern for fathers.
“We can clearly see that future fathers not only want to work more flexibly, but also fewer hours,” said Volker Baisch, managing director of the fathers’ network conpadres, to the FAZ. “The ‘New Normal’ will be the four-day week, to keep family, friends and jobs in balance.”
When it came to employers supporting work-life balance, the majority of survey respondents said they would like flexible working hours, with options like flexitime and part-time work. The study also found that employees consider the family-friendliness of employers an important factor when it comes to job decisions. Two-thirds of those surveyed said they would change employers if their needs were not properly addressed.
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Abi studied History & German at the University of Manchester. She has since worked as a writer, editor and content marketeer, but still has a soft spot for museums, castles…
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