The Effect of Fatherhood on Men’s Patterns of Employment

3 February 2006

Research funded by the ESRC and conducted at the University of Bristol has looked at the impact of fatherhood on men’s employment and found that although overall fatherhood status is largely irrelevant for men’s level of engagement with the labour market, there is some accommodation in work hours in the first year of a child’s life.

When fathers were compared with non-fathers then the results indicate that hours of work are longer for those defined as fathers. Looking at the data in a different way, fathers were also more likely than non-fathers to be working extremely long hours. However, once other variables were taken into account, fatherhood status was not a good predictor of the number of hours worked.

Neither fatherhood status nor having become a new father in the past year were significant factors in predicting working time preferences, and most men wanted to stick with their current hours of work.

Examining a change in men’s hours of work found that the occurrence of a new birth did have a significant positive relationship with a decrease in work hours and a negative relationship with an increase in work hours. This suggests that fathers do make some downwards adjustment to their hours of work when a new child arrives.

The research used data collected in the British Household Panel Study (BHPS) and the National Child Development Survey (NCDS).