Childless academics earn more

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Study: children affect salary

According to a new study, children often mean a career break for female academics, because full-time work and family seem to be difficult to combine in practice. As part of the study, the HIS Institute for University Research (HIS-HF) examined the compatibility of work and family. While women still retreat professionally when they have children, little changes in their fathers.

Full-time women with and without children earn about the same amount. The result of the HIS study is clear: on average, childless female academics earn more than those who have children. The graduates of the 1997 graduation at the University of Hanover were asked to provide information about their salary one year, five years and ten years after the exam. Ten years after graduating from university, the respondents earn an average of EUR 50,478 gross per year. Income with women with children is significantly reduced. Mothers earn an average of only 30,882 gross per year. "The explanation lies in the fact that many women work part-time," reports the author of the study, Gesche Brandt. The comparison of full-time women shows that women with and without children earn almost the same amount. While childless female academics earn an average of EUR 54,112 gross annually, childless women earn EUR 52,108 gross per year.

Of the graduates surveyed, 60 percent had children ten years after graduation. According to the study, around half of the childless would like to have children in the future. For 40 percent of childless university graduates, the high level of professionalism is the reason why they have so far no offspring. The study also shows that if the woman works full-time or in a managerial position, the likelihood of motherhood decreases.

Men have little job change with their own children In contrast to women, little changes in work for men when they become fathers. Children even seem to have a positive impact on their salary. Male academics with children earn an average of 68,179 euros per year ten years after graduation, while men without children only earn an average of 64,154. Part-time jobs are the exception for men.

For female academics with children, the framework conditions for reconciling work and family must be right, says the author. "This includes, for example, coordinated childcare offers, qualified part-time positions and the support of the partner." Because the traditional gender division of labor is still common in many partnerships. “The male graduates succeed in reconciling career and work primarily by the partner taking on family work. The fact that the partner bears primary responsibility for childcare is still the exception, ”continues Brandt.

“There are definitely mothers who can successfully combine child and career. They usually only leave the job for a short time and then go back to work full-time. Continuous careers in particular keep mothers with a university degree good career opportunities, ”explains the author of the study funded by the Federal Ministry of Research. (ag)

Image: Benjamin Thorn /

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