The High Cost of Part-Time Work (+ working mom poll)

Working MomWork-family imbalance
For working moms in search of that elusive work-life balance, part-time employment can look dreamy: You bring in some income, but still have time for your family, your home, maybe even (gasp) yourself.

In fact, 62% of working mothers said they would prefer part-time work, according to a survey last fall by the Pew Research Center; only 37% said they'd rather work full-time.

But men? Nearly 80% said they'd rather work full-time. That's a stark difference, and it reveals a lot.

Cost-benefit analysis
Some people argue that moms who choose to work part-time pay too high a financial price. Their earnings are lower, their retirement savings suffer, and their professional trajectory flattens.

Then again, full-time working moms may gain professionally and financially—but they also lose, thanks to the stress of laboring at home and in the workplace, as Business Week editor Anne Tergesen notes here.

And even when moms work full-time, they may still pay a penalty in lower earnings and a pervasive anti-mom bias, according to an eye-opening Stanford study (watch this video summary).


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