Macho male bosses miss family events

Press   –   by Sarah Womack, Social Affairs Correspondent   –   The Daily Telegraph   –   18 September 2004

Men are too embarrassed to admit they are late for work because of family commitments such as the school run, according to research published today.

Only 14 per cent would be happy asking for an hour off for a family crisis or commitment, compared to 98 per cent of women.

One business director said: "I wouldn't admit to doing the school run or wanting to be at one of my kids' events because it might affect how my peer group perceives me."

Moloney Search, an executive headhunting company, surveyed 200 businessmen and women to examine how high-fliers prioritised their life as they held down demanding careers. Those surveyed included consultants, accountants, lawyers and senior board directors of FTSE-listed companies.

The Government is trying to encourage men and women to spend more time with their families and less with their bosses, but with little success. From April last year, four million parents with a child under six and 200,000 mothers and fathers with disabled children up to 18 were given the right to request flexible working – a choice about when and how to work. Take-up has been slow, however, and the survey shows that men fear being considered "part-timers".

Only one male general manager of a FTSE-100 listed company was positive: "I try to be there for my children's birthdays or school plays. "When you wake up and you are 50, there is little chance you will want to see your ex-boss for Sunday lunch, but you are sure to want to see your kids so you should put your family first."

The Work Foundation, a think-tank, pointed to the benefits of home-working, saying: "All the evidence points to home-working being remarkably productive. Fewer days are lost to illness, commuter stress is avoided and there is less time-wasting."

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