Higher-earning men would take a pay cut to spend more time with partners. Most men in Europe want to spend fewer hours at work and more time with their families even though it would cut their income, a major study on employment shows.
The common belief that higher-earning men like to work longer to build their careers is shown to be wrong by the study - men who earn the majority of their household's income were most likely to want to work less. Sociologists Shireen Kanji and Robin Samuel also found that for men breadwinners the attraction of spending more time with their partner is as strong a pull as children's company.
University of Leicester's Kanji and University of Bern's Samuel analyzed survey data on the working lives of more than 4,000 men in 12 European countries, including the UK. They said that around 58 percent of men breadwinners - those who earned more than their partners - were more likely to want to work less and spend more time at home, and only 15 percent wanted to work longer.
Male breadwinners with a partner and no children were as keen to work less and spend more time at home as were men with both a partner and children and among men who earned the same or less than their partners or were single, most also wanted to work fewer hours, though the proportion was lower than for male breadwinners. They were also less likely to want to work fewer hours than male breadwinners.
The researchers say that they show that male breadwinners are at a higher risk of overwork and this is related to the job interfering with their family life, a specific form of work-life conflict. The implication is that male breadwinners feel constrained from participating as fully as they desire in family life, even if they do not have children. The study appears in the journal Sociology