High Desire Among Working Mothers to Continue Working, while Prioritizing Child-rearing
— Companies need to create parent-friendly environment for child-care support system —
February 24, 2006
Nomura Research Institute, Ltd.
Nomura Research Institute, Ltd. (NRI: Tokyo, Akihisa Fujinuma, President, CEO & COO) conducted a questionnaire survey from January 18 to 23, 2006. The theme of the questionnaire was "Child-care Support Systems in Corporations" and it targeted parents working at corporations who have a child below elementary school third grade age.
On the subject of work-life balance, the results of the survey show that a high proportion of mothers in their thirties and forties working at corporations who have small children "wish to continue to work, while prioritizing child-rearing," and that overall the desire to continue working is very high. In addition, the survey showed that while both men and women share high expectations of corporate child-care support systems, they also share a high degree of frustration at these systems. NRI believes that in order to construct better child-care support systems, efforts must be made to develop an environment where child-care support systems is easily used, and that the parents who will benefit from such systems need to engage those efforts actively.
Analysis of the responses to the survey questionnaire reveals that with regard to the enforcement of the Law for Measures to Support the Development of the Next Generation (Next Generation Law), 77% of those surveyed "do not know" about the law (Figure 1), and there were no significant differences in response by gender, corporate scale or industry. In addition, 40% of respondents stated that they "have not noticed" when asked if the enforcement had resulted in new child-care support measures being introduced at their place of work (Figure 2). This would suggest that in other words, there is a tendency among respondents not to demonstrate any interest in government or corporate efforts, despite the fact that it is the respondents themselves who are subject to the legislation and corporate measures.
With regard to the child-care support systems of the corporations where respondents work, not even 10% declared themselves to be "satisfied," the percentage of which is far below the responses in the "dissatisfied" category (37.5%) (Figure 3). For their dissatisfaction, the most frequent response (67%) was that "The measures may be effective, but they are difficult to actually use" (Figure 4). Regarding needs addressed to the child-care support systems of corporations, many respondents expressed the hope for "child nursing leave (paid leave)" (Figure 5). Looking by type, the percentage of those who desired such child nursing leave was high for all categories: dual-income women (91.4%), dual-income men (79.3%), and dual-income women without a parent or relative close by with whom they could leave their child (93.7%). This demonstrates the strong desire for such leave (Figures 6 and 7).
When asked about work-life balance between work and child-rearing, among male respondents, the most common idea was "balancing child-rearing and work" (54.7%), a response that did not differ by age of the respondents. Among women, there were age-related differences in response. With the most common response for women in their twenties being "balancing child-rearing and work," while the desire among women in their thirties and forties to "continue to work, while prioritizing child-rearing" comes strongly to the fore (Figures 8 and 9).
In addition, with regard to continuing work, 87% of women respondents indicated that they would like to continue working (Figure 10). The most commonly given reason for wishing to continue working was "daily life would not be possible without continuing to work" (65.8%), followed by other popular responses "I am not suited to being a housewife" (36.5%), and "I want to advance my career" (30.2%). These results indicate the increasing number of women who have a sense of wanting to work as something for themselves (Figure 11). Conversely, only 2.8% of women responded that "Child-rearing is a burden and therefore I will stop working" (Figure 10). These results show the overwhelming desire to continue to work.
NRI considers that the results of this questionnaire survey raise the following two important points.
The first point concerns awareness of working parents with small children concerning the child-care support systems of the corporations where they work. These people strongly seek to balance work and child-rearing as well as to continue working, yet despite their considerable needs for corporate child-care support , results show a low level of interest in government or corporate trends in this area. This implies that in developing a better child-care support system in the future, the active engagement of parents working while raising children (arousing interest and eliciting opinions) will be of increasing importance.
The second point concerns efforts made by corporations themselves. Although employees who have children have a high degree of need for a child-care support system, satisfaction with such systems is low, the major reason being that the "system is difficult to use." This suggests that it is not sufficient merely for a corporation to establish and develop a child-care support system. It is also necessary for efforts to be made to develop an environment that makes it easier for the system to be used, and nurture child-care support as a part of corporate culture. This survey demonstrates that corporations are faced with an urgent need to shift their objectives from developing systems to improving system utilization rates or, in other words, to boost the satisfaction of the employees for whom the system is intended.
[For general inquiries, please contact:]
Suirei Ban / Takeshi Nomura
Corporate Communications Department
Nomura Research Institute, Ltd.
Questionnaire Survey "Child-care Support Systems in Corporations"
Date of survey: January 18 to 23, 2006
Survey method: TRUENAVI, an Internet questionnaire survey TRUENAVI
Number of responses: 1,000
This survey was implemented utilizing the TRUENAVI Internet research service provided by NRI. For details, see http://truenavi.net/ (the site is Japanese only.)
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