Children and careers in Germany: Flexibility has limits

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While numerous EU countries are experiencing a rise in the birth rate, Germany remains one of the “baby blues” in the global comparison with one of the highest proportions of permanently childless women. What are the reasons?

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Marie-Luise Mähler 70Marie-Luise Mähler worked for MTV, for example, or at the press conference of the German Embassy in Brussels.


Educational level is often crucial for family planning

In addition to the general tendency towards isolation in society, the level of education, career breaks in the curriculum vitae and personal demands on the role of parents are mentioned as decisive influencing factors for or against family planning.

For example, low-qualified people often have several children and live in a stable relationship, while highly qualified persons are much more likely to live childless in single households. The lower the professional qualification, the more likely a firm partnership with several children.

Job more meaningful than children?

From this, one can conclude on the one hand that personal search for meaning only then focuses on the family, if alternative possibilities of unfolding such as in a continuously growing career are missing.

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On the other hand, however, it also becomes clear that state subsidies can offer significant support to those who are disabled by social advancement and can strongly favor the decision for a child.

There are financial incentives

Thus the state pays mothers in child rearing periods up to 36 months pension contributions, which in this period are no longer measured by personal wages, but rather by the nationwide merit average. The low-income earners in particular benefit from this.

If both partners work full-time, they remain childless for more than 46%, the study notes. There seems to be no incentive to temporarily (temporarily) leave the profession for the benefit of a child.

Concern for future career as a hurdle?

Professional activity - especially in full-time - seems either necessary to ensure survival, or couples are not willing to forego the amenities of the double full-time salary.

However, care for the future of the profession could be a hurdle. In any case, the prospect of a child does not seem to be as attractive to many full-time employees as to continue working full-time.

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The earnings shears gap apart

The Institute for Economic Research Halle (IWH) reports that real wages per employee have decreased or stagnated in the past ten years.

According to the Federal Statistical Office in Wiesbaden, wages - also for part-time workers and marginally employed people - have meanwhile increased, but this report also confirms a further widening of the “gap in earnings”.

Fear of the growing costs?

This is another main cause of the (no-) child dilemma: children are spending more money with increasing age.

What to do if a (limited-term) employment relationship does not take into account the fact that the salary increases in the foreseeable future? And if so, what price?

Get out of the hamster wheel

The top management, according to the Focus, achieved the biggest jump in compensation with an increase of 30 percent. At the same time, company goals set here - along with corresponding bonuses - are not only achieved, but often exceeded. The clerk levels, on the other hand, tend to not fully meet targets.

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Unfortunately, the Article possible reasons for this in the dark. Can one see an overload and too high a concentration of tasks on individual clerks as the reason for this clear discrepancy?

The Spiegel In any case, notes an increasing attitude towards career refusal on the part of employees. In his article "Advocates: career? Without me!”He makes it clear that especially employees with high potential are no longer ready to run on the spot in the company's internal hamster wheel at any price.

Stable instead of flexible

There is a clear trend in part-time employment: according to the IWH, this has been increasing steadily for several years (and leads to a growing difference in salaries).

The years-long policy of flexibilisation of the labor market seems to have reached its limits: Too much flexibility does not promote a baby boom, but rather creates precarious working and living conditions: temporary contracts, (low-paid) temporary work and high distances, which are taken in favor of a job , undermine family planning. It lacks an essential factor: stability.

Equal instead of unequal

Women also want something from the career cake. They are actually twice as bad, because the same salary for the same performance still remains a matter of gender - as the Focus decodes with an accurate salary scale for 150 occupations in its current issue.

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In addition, women with children do not have a complete professional life. This can be a problem if they are in temporary employment, they are not prolonged and after the Babypause inevitably a new job search is pending.

Employers are in demand

Thus, reconciling work and family life is often wishful thinking, unless flexibilisation also applies to employers.

Im Family life monitor from the Institute for Demoscopy, 84% of those surveyed see the need for companies to do more to reconcile family and work.

The solution: job sharing, homeoffice, company KITA

Flexible working hours, job sharing, home office or corporate KITA: Find the solution here. In my opinion, a family-friendly policy does not work better with additional care allowance for private households. But it must be invested in where people are also economically involved - at the workplace.

According to the child care network, this is a further result of the study on the decline in childbirth, West German parents only benefit very little. Only 28% agree with the statement that KITAs contribute to everyday relief.

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