Get a Life

By Judith Welles

Blog archive

Get a Life!: Work life balance has no gender

Younger men in the office are finding more work-family conflict than women.  

That is a finding of a new report, “Times Are Changing: Gender and Generation at Work and At Home,” by the nonprofit Families and Work Institute with funding by IBM. 

The study found that younger men are increasing the time they spend with their young children. They are feeling the stress of balancing their often long hours at work with their desire to spend time with their children. 

One reason for the change is the related finding that young women want to advance to jobs with more responsibility just as much as young men. Being a mother does not change a young woman’s career ambitions.  And women are contributing an increasing share of the family’s income.

As any highly rated company in the private sector will tell you, one important aspect of becoming a model employer and recruiting younger workers is to pay attention to employee work life and family balance. 

At his confirmation hearing, John Berry, newly confirmed director of the Office of Personnel Management, said, “As the nation’s largest employer, the federal government should also be the nation’s model employer.... We need to reach out and attract the best and brightest from all fields.”

While Berry will be working to improve recruitment and speed up the hiring process for new federal employees, he will also be trying to retain the existing talent. According to insiders, Berry has already said he will place priority on work life for federal employees. The specifics of that priority remain to be seen.  

Berry, who was director of the National Zoo in Washington, had also been assistant secretary for policy, management and budget at the Interior Department during the Clinton administration.  There he supported programs to improve work life balance for employees. 

In your view, how much attention should government pay to work life issues for federal employees?   

Posted by Judith Welles on Apr 08, 2009 at 12:12 PM


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