Some jobs make for having children earlier, some don’t

Working in public administration, where leave arrangements are generous, jobs secure and contracts permanent, induces Dutch women and men to become parents earlier in life. Dutch women who work in financial administration, health and education have their first child earlier after finishing education than their female colleagues in manufacture and transport f.e. Also, Dutch women in male dominated companies or departments postpone becoming mother longer. This means that the choice for a particular study, occupation and work place influences one’s pro-creational options considerably – at least in the Netherlands. Apparently, the question parent now or never is job-related too.

Household quarrels
The comparison of the Dutch and Spanish WageIndicator datasets 2004-2006 also reveals that the timing of parenthood early in working life varies with gender equality, region of origin, and position of the partner.
Spanish men f.e. seem to postpone their decision to father a child when they quarrel over the division of household tasks with their wife (too much). This was not found to have any delaying effects on Dutchmen.
Spanish men and women from Barcelona become parents later, whereas in Madrid it is only the men who postpone their first child – other things being equal. In Holland the region of greater Amsterdam shows postponement of parenthood more than the rest of the country.

Position of partner decisive
As might be expected the role of the partner in these matters is decisive. For Dutch women a partner with a permanent contract (and owning the house) is reason to have the first child earlier. Dutch men behave in a less traditional way vis-à-vis their working partners: they become father later, respecting their wives’ wish to continue working (for a while). All male respondents who feel responsible as main providers of the household income (and own the house) become father earlier -  whereas women with that responsibility on the contrary postpone motherhood, both in Spain and the Netherlands.
To top this selection, men with higher wages postpone fatherhood in both countries. But promoted men sire their first child earlier.
Wetzels, C.M.M.P. (2007). Woliweb national report the Netherlands. Supplements to the Economics of First Birth Timing: A Comparison of Married Men and Women in the Netherlands and Spain using a New Country Comparative Data Source.


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