9th Conference European Sociological Association

RN13 Sociology of Families and Intimate Lives

2009-09-04 09:00:00 2009-09-04 10:30:00 Friday, 4 September 09:00 - 10:30 Spatial Mobility and Families Building II, Auditório B1.03

How to Combine Mobile Jobs with Family Lives. The Consequences of Job-Related Spatial Mobility on Parenting and Family Planning

As recent research shows, an increasing number of Europeans is highly spatially mobile for their job, either to bridge a large distance between home and the workplace, or because the occupation itself requires mobility. Affected are especially young adults, in a life stage in which family formation usually takes place. The long travel between home and the workplace takes away extra family time. So, mobile parents are less able to take care of their children´s needs or to take over housework. Job mobility also further reduces the already restricted flexibility of full-time employees to take care of the children during the day when unforeseen emergencies occur. All in all, it is presumable that job mobility aggravates the difficulties to combine a job with active parenting.

How severe is this aggravation? Does it rather lead to childlessness or does it lead to a traditional division of work within couples? Do various forms of being job mobile offer better or worse opportunities to be an active parent? Do certain circumstances, such as flexible work hours, moderate the difficulties? Do mobile parents have possibilities to compensate disadvantages of being mobile, like support from social networks, professional help, or work days at home? Does job mobility at least provide advantages that make up for the restrictions in parenting, such as better job opportunities?

The presentation gives answers to these questions by analysing data from the project "Job Mobilities and Family Lives in Europe". These representative data were collected in a survey in 2007 in six European countries (Germany, Switzerland, Spain, France, Poland, and Belgium). They allow distinguishing between various forms of being mobile, between various family situations, and they offer several options to evaluate the consequences of job mobilities for family lives.