Researchers at the University of Calgary have conducted a sociological study of 670 attorneys working in law firms to measure the impact of having children on work productivity. The researchers spend a good amount of time raving about billable hours, which made measuring productivity a breeze for them. Yay for billable hours!
We do not think it is groundbreaking news that mothers are less productive than non-mothers (measured in terms of billable hours). The results regarding fathers are interesting, though:
The results suggest that mothers with school-aged children are less productive than non-mothers, whereas fathers with preschool-aged children are more productive than non-fathers. While time spent on household and childcare tasks significantly reduces women’s productivity, we find little support for the benefits of family resources or working in a family-friendly firm for women. Rather, fathers seem to benefit more: family resources are positively related to their productivity and family-friendly benefits allow them more time for leisure.
The study finds that family-friendly firm policies are more beneficial for men than for women. We hear the frustrated sighs of women echoing through cyberspace.
This unexpected finding, however, may be a boon for female attorneys without children:
One surprising finding is that childless women may be more productive than women with children and their male colleagues (with or without children).
The moral of the story for law firms: hire more childless women.
Disclaimer: We note that this study was conducted in the Great White North. We still think it’s relevant, though.
Parenthood and productivity: A study of demands, resources and family-friendly firms [ScienceDirect via TaxProf Blog]
The Impact of Children on Lawyer Productivity [Legal Blog Watch]