Stew Friedman is the Director of Wharton’s Work/Life Integration Project and a pioneer in the study of corporate organization and work/life policy.
For more than 20 years, the Wharton Work/Life Integration Project has tracked the evolving life interests of our business school students — young men and women with high career aspirations heading into the workforce. One of the most surprising and discouraging trends we’ve seen is the number of students (men and women equally) who now think that it is unlikely they will have children. Most young people want children, but many feel it’s not possible to have both a successful career and children.
It’s understandable that many young people feel this way. We are a far cry from the norm of the single-earner parent structure of past families. Across the country, most children now grow up in dual-income households where the division of labor at home is, increasingly, split between parents. Because of this, working fathers must find creative ways to manage new responsibilities at home, at work, and in their communities.
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Forward-thinking companies are waking up to this fact. They understand that recruiting top talent and keeping their existing employees engaged means that business can’t just be about business anymore. These organizations take a more holistic view of their employees and recognize that the cliche of “work/life balance” is a misguided metaphor, because it assumes tradeoffs between both. These companies understand that the new ideal is integration or harmony among the different parts of life, over the course of life.
Fatherly’s 50 Best Companies For New Dads puts a spotlight on the companies who are adapting to the evolving demands of their male and female employees today. As a country, we have a lot of work to do in reshaping society for the modern family. With their policies, programs, and practices, these companies are leading the way.