Parental Skills: Useful or Irrelevant at Work?

Last Updated Sep 11, 2008 4:11 PM EDT

In a week of surveys charting discontent from women at work, one study found that one third of women believe children can be bad for a career.

In a poll of 3,000 working mums, carried out by parents' club Bounty, one in five believe they were effectively demoted after having a child. Over half came to the conclusion that having a baby has had a negative effect on their career. Other findings include:

  • 49 per cent claim to have missed out on promotion or other opportunities.
  • One quarter returned to the office to find they'd been replaced.
  • 21 per cent lost out on employee perks such as the company car, pensions, mobiles and laptops.
  • 26 per cent had to take a pay cut because their employer didn't believe they'd be able to do the job.
But there are those who argue that parental skills are a positive boon for the workplace. In a letter to the FT, Regina Herzfeldt, Research Fellow at the Center for Creative Leadership in Brussels, cites research from the Center that finds home life has a positive influence on working parents' management abilities:


  • Parenting skills include multi-tasking, negotiation, helping others to develop.
  • Increased self-esteem gives parents greater confidence in facing workplace challenges.
  • A happy home life helps people cope with stressful workplace issues.
  • Commitment to your role as a parent reduces stress and means you come to work creative and decisive.
It's surprising if senior managers -- often parents themselves -- fail to recognise the value of a happy home life. But do you think parental skills make a difference at work?