Do Women in Highly Qualified Positions Face Higher Work-to-Family Conflicts in Germany than Men? | DIW Discussion Paper No. 1658 by Anne Busch-Heizmann and Elke Holst
Changing employment conditions lead to new chances, but also new risks for employees. In the literature, increasing permeability between occupational and private life is discussed as one special outcome of this development that employees must face, especially those in highly qualified positions. Drawing on existing research, we investigate in how far women and men in those positions differ in their perceived work-to-family conflicts (WFC), considering the mediating role of gender specific job opportunities. Referring conflicting theoretical arguments, we hypothesize that in Germany – as a conservative welfare state – women, especially those with family responsibilities, will perceive higher WFC than men in those positions. Our analysis is based on data from the German Socio-Economic Panel Study (SOEP). Using the Siegrist instrument on effort-reward imbalance we find that women in highly qualified positions indeed perceive higher WFC than men. This association is explained by women’s lower willingness to take risks, and also partly explained by lower job rewards women receive. It gets visible even more strongly if women’s lower time-based burdens in the job are controlled for. Mixed results are observed concerning associations between family responsibilities and WFC, which is in line with ambivalent results in the literature.