Most Working Parents Say They Work From Desire, Not Just Need

A survey challenges the assumption that parents seeking work flexibility aren’t truly committed to their careers.

What will you be doing when your children go back to school? Most parents will be working, apparently because they want to.

While most parents in a FlexJobs survey of nearly 1,100 job seekers with children 18 or younger at home say they need to work, nearly 2 out of 3 say they want to work.

About 9 in 10 working parents surveyed say they can be great employees and great parents simultaneously, while 8 percent said they hope they can be.

“This data clarifies that working parents actually have optimistic attitudes about being both successful parents and professionals, and it also challenges the assumption that parents seeking work flexibility aren’t truly committed to or enjoying their careers,” said Sara Sutton Fell, founder and CEO of FlexJobs, a subscription-based online service connecting job seekers with remote and flexible opportunities. “In fact, 51 percent of parents cite their enjoyment of working as one of the top reasons for having a job — ahead of doing it to pay for luxury items, saving for retirement or wanting to travel.”

Dual-income families are common. Only 2 in 10 children live in families with traditional breadwinner-homemaker families, compared with twice that amount in the iconic 1950s, according to a report for the nonprofit Council on Contemporary Families. About 1 in 3 now live in two-earner families, the report says. And nearly 1 in 4 are being raised by a single mother.

Work flexibility is important to many parents. The top reasons parents in the FlexJobs survey gave for being interested in flexible work:

  • Having kids living at home: 89 percent
  • Family: 86 percent
  • Work-life balance: 84 percent
  • Time savings: 54 percent
  • Reducing commuting stress: 43 percent

Also, 45 percent said they are passionate about success in their career, and 41 percent of parents say they work because they want to have a professional impact in the world.

The most in-demand type of flexible work arrangement for working parents is 100 percent telecommuting, but others sought alternative or flexible schedules, partial telecommuting, part-time jobs and freelancing.

What would you do if you could choose? Share with us in comments below or on our Facebook page.

Stacy Johnson

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