In the UK, the proportion of couples with dependent children where both partners were in work increased from 57 per cent to 66 per cent between 1994/5 and 2005/6 (Simon and Whiting 2007) and looks set to continue to rise. The imperative for both men and women to manage the competing demands of work and personal life is of growing concern, not only for those involved but also for policymakers and employers. In particular, this demographic trend presents a significant challenge for management in the recruitment, motivation and retention of those employees who are attempting to balance the competing commitments of work and non-work, particularly women who typically take greater responsibility for childcare. This article outlines examples of both good and bad practice to discuss how organisations can effectively support employees in the process of family-building, should they choose to do so. It draws on research into the impact of partnership and family-building on the career aspirations, expectations and orientations among female graduates working across a range of occupations and industry sectors. The data drawn upon in this paper were collected as part of a longitudinal programme of research concerned with exploring the impact of higher education expansion on graduate career outcomes1. Primarily, it discusses the findings derived from the interview data collected in the interviews with 1995 graduates conducted seven and ten years after graduation in 2002/03 and 2005/06.
Wilton, N. (2009). The impact of family-building on the careers of female graduates: Some insights for effective management practice