Men trail women in balancing work-life
A year ago, a VP (finance) from a private equity firm decided to take early retirement to play an active part in the lives of his school-going children. There could be several professionals who may have attained financial stability, but how many male professionals are ready to break societal stereotypes to rejoice in life’s bounty, while they are still healthy? Probably not many.
“Most people delay their retirement due to various personal responsibilities, and they look forward to pursuing their passion after retirement. By the time one retires, it may be too late to do that. One’s vitality may not be the same at 60 as it is at 40. My case is unique because my children are still small. They’re at an age when I can still hold their hand without feeling self-conscious. These are small joys of life which can be enjoyed only at a certain stage in life. I, therefore, decided to take early retirement,” said the 53-year-old former finance professional, who also takes care of the elderly in his family. Recommended By Colombia.
KPMG India’s partner and head (people, performance and culture) Unmesh Pawar said, “Today, there are many successful leaders who decide to make some personal choices at a certain point in their career to lead more fulfilling lives. Reasons could be either to make a career switch, reduce hectic travel schedules in order to spend more time with family, or just a sabbatical to introspect and decide on their next step.”
As more urban men are taking up caregiver responsibilities and partaking in household chores, many appear to be struggling more than working women in juggling between work and home. Given the growing rigours of urban life, several organisations have flexi-work policies which are gender-agnostic. However, while more women make better use of such policies, not many men are doing the same, suggests a study by Godrej Interio.
In the survey of 1,300 working professionals — of which 64% were male — 76% of the men claimed that in the balancing act of work-life, they miss out on living their life in their way as compared to 54% of women. And 61% of the male respondents admitted that they do not spend time pursuing their passion. The findings from the survey conducted across 13 cities reveals a clear clash of Indian men’s professional aspirations with their passion (see graphic).
Godrej Interio COO Anil S Mathur said, “According to our survey findings, with the pressure of work, technology and daily routine, men find less time and opportunities for themselves, family bonding and their passion as compared to their women counterparts. The woman has always been the guardian of the home, and through years of balancing multiple responsibilities for family members she has acquired the life skill for management.”
PNB MetLife director & HR head Shishir Agarwal said, “I believe women have greater commitments towards their families as they have to play a dual role of a professional and a home maker. And it is really encouraging to see a larger number of women pursue their passions in spite of all their personal commitments.”
However, women’s participation ratio at work in India is still low, at about 23%, and leadership levels are clearly dominated by men. Allied Blenders & Distillers chief people officer Biplob Banerjee said, “The corporate world is still a male dominated and propagated ecosystem. It’s evident that incentive, ease and inspiration from male system is so insipid that prioritising family, kids, friends and self become more worthy and fulfilling.
Most families still have men as their single bread winner, which puts an additional burden on men to earn more. Kamal Karanth, co-founder of specialist staffing firm Xpheno, said, “As their priorities are mostly around work, Indian men tend to compromise on their personal time and tilt it towards work. This increases the craving for higher increments and more promotions, which causes increased stress and makes them compromise on their personal life and work harder.” However, this could also be a generational factor, where the baby boomers and Gen X prefer to focus only on work.
“The new generation of millennials/centennials are made up of a different kettle. Today, more millennial women are working and their families are supporting them better to continue working. These men also give huge impetus to their own personal life and pursue their personal interest, more than the previous generation. If the same survey is done 10 years from now, the results would be different,” said Karanth.