Is it national “women in Biglaw” month and nobody told me? Yesterday, we learned that women who don’t put their careers on hold in order raise children can expect a similar salary to their male counterparts. A few days ago we learned that women hate working for other women. A couple of weeks ago, we had a story about alleged gender bias on the board of the Cardozo law review.
Isn’t there a sporting event or contest of some kind I can go watch? I’m happy to drag my knuckles all the way to my cave.
In any event, a new study out today shows that a large number of women are very dissatisfied with their jobs:
Dissatisfaction with work-life balance is pushing women lawyers in New Jersey out the door and into new jobs, a survey has found.
Most of the respondents–almost two-thirds–said they were satisfied with their ability to integrate their work and personal lives and the predictability of their hours, according to a press release. But the numbers were different for women lawyers who had changed jobs in the last five years. More than 70 percent of the job-hopping lawyers said their previous employer was not supportive of full-time flexible alternatives, while only 30 percent described their current employer as unsupportive of such arrangements.
“An important new finding of this study is that women lawyers often choose an exit strategy when faced with the dilemma of choosing between work and family obligations,” the study said. “The business case for more family-friendly approaches to the practice of law could not be more clear.”
In a perfect world, a more family-friendly approach would seem like an excellent business idea.
But in the world wrecked by the current economy, firms are actively trying to force attrition. You’d hope that the attrition would be gender neutral, but at this point everybody who voluntarily leaves a firm is one less person that will show up on Layoff Tracker.
After the jump, Legal Blog Watch points out that even when women do jump from one job to another, the grass is often just as dull.
Unfortunately, leaving isn’t always the right answer for women looking for a better work/life balance:
The study also suggests, however, that leaving a firm isn’t necessarily the answer. Of respondents who changed employers in the last five years, 30 percent remained dissatisfied with their current employer’s level of flexibility. While that’s a significant drop from the 70 percent dissatisfaction levels indicated before women changed jobs, having a full third of female lawyers unhappy at their firms isn’t a figure worth celebrating in my book.
You don’t need two X chromosomes to care about work/life balance. It would be interesting to see a similar study regarding male job jumpers. It might just be that 1/3 of people are going to be dissatisfied about their work/life balance regardless of their not-independently-wealthy circumstances.
But it would also be interesting to see if these Jersey numbers hold up nationally. Maybe when you live and work in New Jersey, you feel like you are giving up the models and bottles NYC lifestyle and you are therefore entitled to a better work/life balance. It can be a big shock if you feel like your west of the Hudson salary is lower than your Gramercy contemporaries, but your hours are just the same.
Why Women Lawyers Leave: A Quest for Flexible Work and Supportive Environments [ABA Journal]
Study Shows Female Lawyers Willing to Leave Firms to Get a Life [Legal Blog Watch]
Earlier: Gender Gap Disappears If You Just Keep Working
Women Expect Too Much Empathy From Female Partners
Gender Bias on the Cardozo Law Review?