Afstemming van beroepsloopbanen op gezinsverantwoordelijkheden | Amsterdam University Press Journals Online
Volume 26, Issue 3
  • ISSN: 0169-2216
  • E-ISSN: 2468-9424


Reconciling career trajectories with family responsibilities

Reconciling career trajectories with family responsibilities

In this article we examine how – following family formation – women adjust their professional careers. Lowering the hours of labour market activity (i.e. part-time work) is one way of reconciling work with family responsibilities. An alternative strategy consists of finding a job that can be combined with family life more easily. Which jobs offer better opportunities to positive role-combination (i.e. work and family facilitation) depends on job quality, that we define using the job demands – job control model of Karasek. Using the longitudinal SONAR-dataset on the transition from school to work in Flanders, Belgium, we analyse how career trajectories of young women change following family formation. Our results suggest that women with children try to improve their work-family balance by changing the kind of jobs they work in, not that they anticipate to the later combination by choosing less demanding jobs. Improvement in work strain is mostly realized when women start working part-time. Part-time work as a reconciliation strategy, however, seems mostly needed in jobs that offer few opportunities to successful combination.


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