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Millennial parents struggling with work/family balance


Research has found that millennial parents were nearly twice as likely to feel burnout

Millennial parents are struggling balance family and work commitments, according to a study of family life from Working Families.

The 2016 Modern Families Index revealed that millennial parents are nearly twice as likely to feel burnout, with 42% of millennial parents saying they feel this way most or all of the time, compared with only 22% of 36- to 45-year-olds and 17% of those over 45. Millennials are also the most likely to say they would like to shift down a gear, and the most willing to take a pay cut to find a better work/life balance. About a third (38%) of millennial parents stated they would consider a pay cut compared to 28% overall.

The research found that millennial parents are more likely to both work full time, with 78% of parents in this age group doing so. Millennial fathers are the most likely to be working flexibly and sharing family obligations, with 69% of millennial fathers working flexibly compared with 54% of fathers aged 36-45 and 52% of those aged 45-plus.

Millennial fathers also feel the most resentful towards their employers, with 42% feeling this way compared to 32% overall. More than half of millennial fathers (58%) would not feel confident asking their employer about reducing their hours, working remotely or placing boundaries on responding to calls or emails outside working hours.

Sarah Jackson, chief executive of Working Families, said younger parents are “on shaky ground” because working life has not caught up with their needs. “Long and inflexible hours remain the norm, with many parents telling us they work up to 10 extra hours a week,” she said. “If we want children to have the time with parents that they need, and for parents to give their best at work, employers need to tackle unrealistic and unmanageable workloads. Otherwise we’re short-changing families and we’re short-changing the economy.”

Denise Priest, director of employer and strategic partnerships at family care provider Bright Horizons, said that the Index shows millennials are doings things differently at work and at home, and have a strong desire to be involved with their children and families. “This is the new generation of parents who are rebooting traditional working and caring patterns, but also challenging embedded notions of engagement and loyalty in the workplace,” she said. “However, these increased expectations continue to bump against working commitments, leading to stress and in some cases burnout.”