Fathers working full-time get paid a fifth more than men with similar jobs who don’t have children, according to a new report published by the TUC, an umbrella organisation representing 52 trade union in the UK. Working mothers statistically earn less that working women without children.
Men in general and fathers in particular have become important stakeholders for Diversity & Inclusion. While discussing their benefits from a more open and flexible workplace, D&I practitioners should be aware of their current situation. A new analysis of the weekly earnings of 17,000 full-time workers with and without children found that fatherhood has a consistent positive effect for men: Father earn 21% more than men without children in similar jobs. In addition, the report shows that working fathers with two kids earn 9% more than those with just one child.
Not only are the findings in stark contrast to the experience of working mothers who suffer a 15% pay penalty when they become mothers before 33 years of age. It also raises questions about the reasons for the disparities between men with no, one or several children. “The result can be explained by many factors”, Diversity expert, Michael Stuber, observes. “More engagement at work is only one possibility”, he adds. ‘Positive’ unconscious bias for fathers needing more income as bread-winners and deserving it as well, might be others.
The TUC report found that the ‘fatherhood wage bonus’ may be down to dads working longer hours and putting in increased effort at work in comparison to men without children. In fact, labour market figures show that men with children work slightly longer hours on average than those without. In contrast, mothers tend to work shorter hours than similar women without children, including in full-time jobs.
Regarding possible positive discrimination, the TUC report quotes international studies which found that CVs from fathers were more highly scored than identical ones from non-fathers. This could suggest that employers view dads as more reliable and responsible employees, especially when comparing it to results showing that CVs from mothers tend to be marked down against those from women without children.
For the UK, a recent poll by the Fawcett Society seem to confirm this bias. 29% of respondents thought that dads were more committed to their jobs after having a baby – and 46% thought that women were less committed to their work after becoming parents. TUC’s Secretary General, Frances O’Grady,comments this result: “It says much about current attitudes that men with children are seen as more committed by employers, while mothers are still often treated as liabilities.”
“Both studies underscore the ongoing need to address gender stereotypes”, Michael Stuber concludes. There are still so many areas where more or less subtle biases show up in how women and men are perceived – and evaluated – at the workplace.
The full report is available at