New Year resolution: to balance marriage, baby and career

07 Jan 2013

Singaporeans generally perceive themselves as having good work-life balance.

According to key findings of a Marriage and Parenthood study commissioned by the National Population and Talent Division, 79% of singles in the study reported having good work-life balance, albeit with areas that could be improved. Among married respondents, the percentage who reported good work-life balance was comparable, at 82%.

Nearly two-thirds of single respondents were exhausted when they came home from work, with 42% having insufficient time to date, and 50% having insufficient time to meet new people.

Of the married people, 62% were exhausted when they came home from work, and 54% felt their job prevented them from spending as much time with their families as they would like.

The study also found that women simultaneously desired family and career. A large proportion (80%) of single female respondents indicated their preference to be working mothers, comparable to 81% in 2007 and 79% in 2004.

Respondents were also quite equally split between part-time and full-time employment options, although the percentage preferring part-time employment has increased to 40% in 2012, compared to 19% in 2007 and 21% in 2004.

This suggests that part-time opportunities and more workplace flexibility could encourage women to remain in or return to the workforce.

Sociologist Associate Professor Paulin Straughan, from the National Universtiy of Singapore (NUS), told Channel NewsAsia that the challenge for paid work in the next five years would be to maintain flexibility and reorganise reorganise work structures and schedules to allow employees to work when they can and attend to their family when they can.

“You can be just as effective if not more effective if you are allowed that flexibility to come in earlier, go back earlier, come in later and go back later or maybe level up on technology, and where possible, allow work from home,” she added.

The survey also uncovered strong support for shared parental responsibility. Given this feedback, the National Family Council said the government should be more aggressive in its measures like legislating paternity leave of one week for fathers or by making the fourth month of maternity leave gender-neutral.

The government is expected to unveil an enhanced Marriage and Parenthood Package in the coming weeks.

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