China’s Working Women Less Keen on Childbearing

May 15, 20178:10 am1562 views

China’s working women are less keen on their childbearing intentions, because of work pressure and rising expenses, according to findings released by Zhaopin Limited in its 2017 report on the current situation of working mothers in China.

More than 40,200 people participated in this survey to understand the childbearing intentions of working women in China, the impact of childbearing on career development, and importance of benefits and provisions available for raising babies.

Key findings from the report are:

  • For working women with no children, 40.1 percent were reluctant to have children, almost double the 20.48% figure for last year. For women who already have one child, 62.7 percent didn’t want to have a second child.
  • The top reasons for reluctance to have children were “not enough time and energy” (41.9 percent), “too expensive to raise children” (36.9 percent), and “concerns over career development” (35.2 percent).
  • About 63.4 percent of women in the workplace believed that childbearing would have a large impact on their career development, compared with only 48.6 percent of men who believed so.
  • Before childbearing, women in the workplace were more concerned about salary (76.5 percent), work environment (46.4 percent), and distance from work (45.9 percent) when selecting employers. After childbearing, working mothers gave priority to distance from work (81 percent), salary (68.7 percent), and work pressure (49.7 percent).
  • After returning to work, the needs of working mothers included flexible working hours (70.5 percent), family first after work hours (62.1 percent), and higher salaries (41.1 percent).
  • About 32.5 percent of women saw their salaries decline after childbearing in 2017, compared with 24.2 percent for 2016. Meanwhile, 36.1 percent of women found that their positions were lowered after childbearing in 2017, up from 26.6 percent in 2016.
  • About 66 percent of working mothers felt depressed after childbearing. 65.3 percent believed that returning to work would relieve the depression, while 13.8 percent said that going back to work actually deepened their depression
  • For women in the workplace, their biggest concerns about childbearing were difficulty in returning to work after childbearing (52.5 percent), being replaced by others (48.9 percent) and lowered personal value (46.6 percent).
  • The majority of working mothers (67.9 percent) in China would not consider becoming stay-at-home moms. Key reasons included psychological imbalance by isolation from society (79 percent), pressure from life (65.4 percent), and negative impact on relationships (58.6 percent).

See: Slow Down in Salary Growth of White-Collar Workers in China in Q1 2017

Low willingness for childbearing

Nearly 50 percent of female participants had no children, 43.3 percent had one child and 7 percent had two or more children. Among women who already have one child, 62.7 percent didn’t want to have a second child, while 22.5 percent intended to have a second baby.

For women in different age groups, those born in the 1980s saw the most impact on their career development from childbearing, followed by women born in the 1990s. 32.5 percent of women saw their salaries decline after childbearing in 2017, compared with 24.2 percent for 2016. About 36.1 percent of women found that their positions were lowered after childbearing in 2017, up from 26.6 percent in 2016.

Working mothers were more occupied with children and family, which would hold back their career development. Working mothers were primarily worried about children’s education (68 percent), children’s health (64.8 percent) and pressure from daily expenses (51 percent).

After childbearing when women return to work, 46.3 percent of working mothers have already changed jobs, and 38.9 percent hold the intention to change jobs soon without action yet. For career decisions after childbearing, 77.1 percent of working mothers would change jobs because work was too far away from home, and 38.6 percent would refuse challenging jobs for family reasons.

The survey also found that 66 percent of working mothers feel depressed after childbearing. While 65.3 percent of working mothers believed that returning to work would relieve the depression, 13.8 percent said that going back to work actually deepened their depression.

The benefits for nursing mothers in the workplace in China included one-hour off for breastfeeding each day, no termination of employment contract, no business trips and no over time. More men (41.9 percent) than women (28.3 percent) believed that their employers did not provide any benefits for nursing mothers, because men often ignored or paid little attention to such benefits offered to nursing mothers.

As to suggestions for maternity leave, 48.6 percent of women in the workplace suggested extending the leave. 44.7 percent of women and 53.8 percent of men wanted to share maternity leave between parents, allowing fathers to take such leave. The survey found that men were more willing to take the responsibility to care for children and family.

Also read: Top 10 Talent Trends in China for 2017

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