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Men’s job satisfaction plummets after birth of first child

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A man’s job satisfaction is more likely to plummet after becoming a father, according to new research on working hours and parenthood.

A man’s job satisfaction is more likely to plummet after becoming a father, according to new research on working hours and parenthood.

The new research from the Australian Demographic and Social Research Institute contradicts previous academic findings, which show men work increased hours after the birth of a child.

The study, Does Becoming a Father Affect the Working Life of Men?, tracked 754 men over 10 years, together with the School of Social Science at the University of Queensland.

Edith Grey, who compiled the report, told The Australian that job satisfaction falls sharply for men after the birth of their first child.

“While work would have played a major part of their lives before children, on having them they must re-evaluate their priorities, and in doing so it appears to have an impact on their workplace satisfaction,” she says.

But the birth of a child did not result in much change to a father’s working hours. Rather, moving into a role with increased responsibilities or completing a tertiary degree led to an increase in hours.

“Generally it’s been thought they worked more to compensate for the loss of earnings from their partner,” she says. “Alternatively, one might expect new fathers’ hours of work to actually decline in order to take on some of the extra responsibilities of having a new child,” Grey says.

“Neither of those turned out to be the case. In following these men over time, we didn’t find that becoming a father affected working hours.

“What we are seeing is men becoming fathers at a time when a lot is going on in their life, including heavy demands in the workplace. This is particularly true given the later ages that men and women are having children.”

Grey will present her report at the Decade of the Life Course conference in Canberra tomorrow.

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