Work/Life Balance: Why Men Keep Mum on the Topic

Work/Life Balance: Why Men Keep Mum on the Topic

Does the phrase "work-life balance" conjure up images of women juggling babies and briefcases? If so, that might be because you've never heard a man griping about his struggle to manage his career and family.

At least, that's the implication of new research on how men and women talk about their professional lives. According to the fifth "Today's Professional Woman Report," conducted by Citi and LinkedIn, men value work-life balance—but you might be hard pressed to get them to talk about it.


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The survey of more than 1,000 workers found that a whopping 78% of women say they've never heard a man open up about his work-life balancing act. And almost half of men report never hearing other men discuss the challenge of managing career with family.

Catherine McManus, senior vice-president of Content and Social at Citi, has a couple of theories about why men might not be so chatty about balancing their careers and home lives. “They are either not opening up about these issues, or they are not being asked about them,” she tells MarketWatch. Another possibility? Men only talk about their work-life balance with other men, and not with their female co-workers.

“It’s clear from the findings that men need to be a bigger part of the work-life balance conversation,” Linda Descano, President and C.E.O. of Women & Co., Citi’s personal finance resource for women, tells CNBC. “We could all benefit from more communication about a variety of career issues, from the way we promote our work to how much we think we’re worth.”

So exactly how far would we go to achieve better balance between our career and home lives?

Most workers reported that they would sacrifice a salary increase if it meant having benefits that allowed them to achieve a better balance between home and career. That is, until that salary increase exceeded 20%. At this level, most (53%) of men and women would opt for the raise over better work-life balance—and 72% of professionals would take a 30% raise over better work-life balance perks.

For more information about the Today's Professional Woman Report, check out this neat infographic summarizing the results, drawn up by Business Wire.


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