NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


December 17, 2004

Work is fine -- in its place. But hard-charging baby boomers have placed too high a priority on it, their kids seem to think. Generation X and Generation Y workers, who are younger than 40, are more likely than boomers to say they put family before jobs. And that's not just because their children are younger, says Ellen Galinsky, president of the Families and Work Institute in New York. There has been a real generational shift, she says.

According to the institute:

  • Both sexes are more accepting than ever of working mothers.
  • Among younger workers, "job success at any cost" has become less appealing.
  • In two-parent homes, children get more time with their parents than they did 25 years ago; mothers do about as much child care as they used to, but fathers are doing more.

Meanwhile, flexibility at work is a prized benefit for young working moms, according to another recent survey by Galinsky's institute.

  • On a scale of 1 to 10 (with 10 most valued), employed mothers gave flexibility a 9.2 and advancement 5.5.
  • That's not to say working mothers are quitting in droves to go home; even if they wanted to, most can't afford it.
  • Single-mother households have grown in the past decade; plus, about one-third of wives earn more than their husbands do, says economist Myra Strober.
  • More than half of infants' mothers have jobs, and about three out of four women work if their kids are ages 8 or older, federal figures show.

Source: Marilyn Elias, "The family-first generation," USA Today, December 12, 2004; based upon: "Generation and Gender in the Workplace," Families and Work Institute, October 5, 2004.

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