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Business Case for Family Friendly Working - New Evidence (2018)

A
Al James

Work-Life Advantage analyses how employer-provision of ‘family-friendly’ working arrangements - designed to help workers better reconcile work, home and family - can also enhance firms’ capacities for learning and innovation, in pursuit of long-term competitive advantage and socially inclusive growth. This slideshare provides an overview introduction to the book.

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Business Case for
Family-Friendly
Working:
New Evidence (2018)
al.james@ncl.ac.uk
@Re_AlJames
Dr Al James, Reader (Associate Professor)
in Economic Geography
Work-Life Advantage
(James, 2017)
Documents everyday struggles of
knowledge professionals to combine work,
home and family.
Demonstrates how employer–provided
′family friendly′ working arrangements can
also enhance firms′ capacities for learning
and innovation.
Brings expansive learning and innovation
agenda into new conversation with feminist
labour studies.
Exposes masculinist myopia of learning
and innovation agenda and attendant
theories of regional economic advantage.
Evidence base:
150 IT firms (employing 8000 locally),
300 IT workers, 10 years of research,
UK & Ireland
Phenomenal Rise of the Work-
Life ‘Balance’ Agenda
Competing WLB definitions / terminologies
 WLB: ‘the absence of unacceptable levels of conflict between work and non-work demands’
(Greenblatt 2002: 179). Or ‘satisfaction and good functioning at work and at home with a
minimum of role conflict’ (Clark 2000: 751)
 WLB not the only term! – WL articulation / integration / reconciliation – but ‘WLB’ has currency
 In theory moves beyond working mothers to embrace diversity of workers with different personal
responsibilities and interests
Shifting boundaries between work, home and family:
 Dark side of ‘New Economy’: working longer, harder, less
predictable schedules, more unsocial hrs
 Increased female labour participation rates; more dual earner, lone-
parent households, decline of extended family
 Neoliberal attack on social provisioning – transfer of care down to
‘natural’ level of home; women assume majority burden ‘messy and
fleshy’ domestic life
 OUTCOME: complex, gendered, multi-variable juggling act; workers
have finite resources of time and energy
Charting the Phenomenal Rise of the
Work-Life ‘Balance’ Agenda
Source: James (2017), author’s bibliometric search of Web of Science (accessed 7 March 2017)
Profound societal and moral significance of work-life conflict
Multiple studies: causal connections between poor WLB and increased
stress, reduced psychological well-being, deteriorating familial and
community relationships, and gendered labour market inequality (e.g.
Burchell et al. 2002, Gornick and Meyers 2003, Wise and Bond 2003,
Greenhaus et al. 2003, Marmot et al. 2010, Burnett et al. 2012).
Increased work-life conflict leads to stress-related outcomes amongst
workers (Allen et al. 2000, Gatrell and Cooper 2008), including: a lack of
concentration and lower alertness (MacEwen and Barling 1994); increased
frequency of heavy drinking and drinking to cope (Frone et al. 1994 1997);
burnout (Anderson et al. 2002); and higher susceptibility to heart disease,
migraines, stomach problems, depression, emotional problems, and
musculoskeletal disorders (Dembe et al. 2005).
60% of the 35 000 participants in most recent Third European
Quality of Life Survey (2012) identified difficulties in balancing work
and family life (Eurofound 2012: 61-2).
Work-related stress conservatively estimated to cost EU
businesses €20 billion a year in lost productivity (EU-OSHA 2014)
Why all the fuss? Multiple negative
outcomes of work-life conflict
Policy Type Description Examples
Flexible Work
Arrangements
Policies designed to give
workers greater
‘flexibility’ in the
scheduling and location
of work hours while not
decreasing average work
hours per week
Flextime (flexible beginning or end work time, sometimes with
core hours)
Flexplace / Telecommuting (all or part of the week occurs at
home)
Job sharing (one job undertaken by 2 or more persons)
Annualised hours
Reduced Work
Hours
Policies designed to
reduce workers’ hours
Part-time work
Compressed work weeks (employees compact total working
hours into 4 days rather than 5)
Term-time working
Practical Help
with Child Care
Policies designed to
provide ‘workplace social
support’ for parents
Employer-subsidised childcare – in-site
Employer-subsidised childcare – off-site
Information service for childcare
Workplace parent support group
Breast-feeding facilities
Personal Leave Policies and benefits that
give leave to provide time
for personal commitments
& family caregiving
Extra-statutory maternity leave
Extra-statutory paternity leave
Adoption leave
Unpaid leave during school holidays
Guaranteed Christmas leave
Use of own sick leave to care for sick children
Leave for caring for elder relatives
Emergency leave
Study leave
Sports achievement leave
What Help Can Employers Offer Workers?

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Business Case for Family Friendly Working - New Evidence (2018)

  • 1. Business Case for Family-Friendly Working: New Evidence (2018) al.james@ncl.ac.uk @Re_AlJames Dr Al James, Reader (Associate Professor) in Economic Geography
  • 2. Work-Life Advantage (James, 2017) Documents everyday struggles of knowledge professionals to combine work, home and family. Demonstrates how employer–provided ′family friendly′ working arrangements can also enhance firms′ capacities for learning and innovation. Brings expansive learning and innovation agenda into new conversation with feminist labour studies. Exposes masculinist myopia of learning and innovation agenda and attendant theories of regional economic advantage. Evidence base: 150 IT firms (employing 8000 locally), 300 IT workers, 10 years of research, UK & Ireland
  • 3. Phenomenal Rise of the Work- Life ‘Balance’ Agenda Competing WLB definitions / terminologies  WLB: ‘the absence of unacceptable levels of conflict between work and non-work demands’ (Greenblatt 2002: 179). Or ‘satisfaction and good functioning at work and at home with a minimum of role conflict’ (Clark 2000: 751)  WLB not the only term! – WL articulation / integration / reconciliation – but ‘WLB’ has currency  In theory moves beyond working mothers to embrace diversity of workers with different personal responsibilities and interests Shifting boundaries between work, home and family:  Dark side of ‘New Economy’: working longer, harder, less predictable schedules, more unsocial hrs  Increased female labour participation rates; more dual earner, lone- parent households, decline of extended family  Neoliberal attack on social provisioning – transfer of care down to ‘natural’ level of home; women assume majority burden ‘messy and fleshy’ domestic life  OUTCOME: complex, gendered, multi-variable juggling act; workers have finite resources of time and energy
  • 4. Charting the Phenomenal Rise of the Work-Life ‘Balance’ Agenda Source: James (2017), author’s bibliometric search of Web of Science (accessed 7 March 2017)
  • 5. Profound societal and moral significance of work-life conflict Multiple studies: causal connections between poor WLB and increased stress, reduced psychological well-being, deteriorating familial and community relationships, and gendered labour market inequality (e.g. Burchell et al. 2002, Gornick and Meyers 2003, Wise and Bond 2003, Greenhaus et al. 2003, Marmot et al. 2010, Burnett et al. 2012). Increased work-life conflict leads to stress-related outcomes amongst workers (Allen et al. 2000, Gatrell and Cooper 2008), including: a lack of concentration and lower alertness (MacEwen and Barling 1994); increased frequency of heavy drinking and drinking to cope (Frone et al. 1994 1997); burnout (Anderson et al. 2002); and higher susceptibility to heart disease, migraines, stomach problems, depression, emotional problems, and musculoskeletal disorders (Dembe et al. 2005). 60% of the 35 000 participants in most recent Third European Quality of Life Survey (2012) identified difficulties in balancing work and family life (Eurofound 2012: 61-2). Work-related stress conservatively estimated to cost EU businesses €20 billion a year in lost productivity (EU-OSHA 2014) Why all the fuss? Multiple negative outcomes of work-life conflict
  • 6. Policy Type Description Examples Flexible Work Arrangements Policies designed to give workers greater ‘flexibility’ in the scheduling and location of work hours while not decreasing average work hours per week Flextime (flexible beginning or end work time, sometimes with core hours) Flexplace / Telecommuting (all or part of the week occurs at home) Job sharing (one job undertaken by 2 or more persons) Annualised hours Reduced Work Hours Policies designed to reduce workers’ hours Part-time work Compressed work weeks (employees compact total working hours into 4 days rather than 5) Term-time working Practical Help with Child Care Policies designed to provide ‘workplace social support’ for parents Employer-subsidised childcare – in-site Employer-subsidised childcare – off-site Information service for childcare Workplace parent support group Breast-feeding facilities Personal Leave Policies and benefits that give leave to provide time for personal commitments & family caregiving Extra-statutory maternity leave Extra-statutory paternity leave Adoption leave Unpaid leave during school holidays Guaranteed Christmas leave Use of own sick leave to care for sick children Leave for caring for elder relatives Emergency leave Study leave Sports achievement leave What Help Can Employers Offer Workers?
  • 7. IDENTIFIED BENEFIT AT FIRM SCALE WLB POLICY IMPLEMENTED Increased Productivity Improved retention Improved recruitment Decreased absenteeism Decreased turnover ‘Flexible work arrangements’ / ‘Flexible work schedules’ Scholars tend (differently) to sum: flextime, part-time work, telecommuting / flexplace, job sharing, compressed work weeks McCampbell 1996 Perry-Smith and Blum (2000) Rodgers (1992) Seylor et al. (1993) Shepard et al.(1996) Boyer (1993); Dex et al. (2001) (part-time) Hannah (1994) Rodgers (1992) Bevan et al. (1997) Baltes et al. (1999) Dalton and Mesch, (1990) Rodgers (1992) Seylor et al. (1993) TUC (1998) Batt and Valcour (2003) Glass and Riley (1998) Rodgers (1992) Seylor et al. (1993) Scandura and Lankau (1997) Dex et al. (2001) (flextime, job share, homeworking) Employer-supported childcare policies Seylor et al. (1993) Perry-Smith and Blum, 2000 Dex et al. (2001) (parental leave, paternity leave) Grover and Crocker (1995) Kossek and Nichol (1992) Seylor et al. (1993) Seylor et al. (1993) Goff et al. (1990) Kossek and Nichol (1992) Seylor et al. (1993) Parental leave Includes maternity and paternity leave (paid and unpaid) Human Resource Management (1996): paid time off for family illness Glass and Riley (1998): maternity leave - paid and unpaid Business Benefits of WLB? Limited Evidence ‘Business case’ at core of UK and Irish govt WLB campaigns - but many employers still unconvinced – WLB ‘too costly’, ‘hassle’, ‘unfairly privileging subset of workers’
  • 8. Learning and Innovation Effects of WLB??? ‘Few scholars have demonstrated the mechanisms through which such [WLB] policies function (or do not) to enhance firm performance’ (Eaton 2003: 145-6). 1.WLB shaping firms’ capabilities to learn and generate knowledge internally? 2.WLB shaping firms’ capabilities to access & use externally derived knowledge?
  • 9. RQs, Methodology, Evidence Base 1. Gendering of everyday work-life conflict & workers’ preferred WLB arrangements provided by employers? 2. Impact of work-life conflict and worker uptake of preferred WLB arrangements on routine learning and innovation processes within and between firms in high tech regional economies? 3. Conditioning role of regional and national institutional and regulatory frameworks? Dublin and Cambridge IT regional case studies (EU ‘blueprint’ regions) + longest EU work hours (national) 65 in-depth interviews (working parents, HR managers, unions, industry watchers) Online employer survey: 150 firms (8068 workers, 20% female workforce): WLB provision & performance Online IT worker survey: 162 workers (WLB & mobility) (only 9 men! hard to convince WLB goes beyond women) Policy engagement: UK: TUC, Amicus, GirlGeeks, WIT Ireland: ICTU, SIPTU, Irish Equality Authority, WITS
  • 10. Atomised ‘Agents of Innovation’??? ‘The active units behind the formation of new knowledge are ‘epistemic communities’, simply defined as groups of knowledge-driven agents linked together by a common goal, a common cognitive framework and a shared understanding of their work’ (Cohendet et al. 2014: 930). ‘Agglomeration does not ensure learning or determine its content. [Rather] the use and development of information in such a way that technological learning takes place has to do with the qualitative behaviours of agents in a network’ (Storper 1997: 135). ‘I’m the CEO of [IT company] and I’m also the mum of two kids… Pretty much the stress comes from wanting to be successful at work, and also wanting to be successful as a mother, or wanting to be successful at a hobby, or wanting to do a lot of different things and having the conflict’. Chief Executive Officer, female, IT start-up, UK SE region. ‘I was working for [large IT firm], and in my last year I had my son. I had 300 people working for me: you think to yourself “I eat nails for breakfast, I’m gonna have a child and I’ll be right back in there, grrrr,”. And the reality is, it’s not that way, because all of a sudden you have something that you actually care more deeply about than your job’. CEO, female, 2 children, MNC, UK SE region.
  • 11.  Major causes of work-life conflict (IT work activities) Highly variable workloads over devt cycle Need for rapid response to client crises International work teams in multiple time zones Maintaining skill sets in dynamic IT sector Agile devt demanding worker co-location  Examples of ‘life’s work’ outside formal workplace beyond household care: e.g. running Cub Scout group, self-building house, horse grooming, home schooling, others  Everyday experiences of work-life conflict interrupted sleep patterns stress and exhaustion regular evening and weekend working relationships with partner / children suffer working (at home) when feeling unwell missing out on leisure / hobbies  Particular pressures on women with children: identity of ‘a good mother’ invokes an everyday presence and involvement in childrearing absent from dominant societal expectations ‘a good father’ Struggling with the Juggling: Realities of Work-Life Conflict in IT ‘If you’re working for a company like [large MNC], they’re demanding top notch service and whenever there’s a problem, they’ll ring the support organisation but they’ll also ring their account manager so, you can’t say quarter past six, that’s happened to me loads of times, “I’m sorry I’m just in the middle of cooking a meal here or reading a bed time story.” Basically tough, you just have to get on with it’. Female Business Devt Manager, IT MNC, Dublin ‘When I was having my contractions I was making copious notes for my deputy thinking, ‘oh I’m going to be out for a while now’. Then when I was on maternity leave, I’d be breastfeeding and I’d be answering phone calls, I tended to carry on working through that’. Director of IT, female, MNC bank, UK SE
  • 12.  No magic bullet: WLB requirements vary by individual, household, job role, dept, firm, and over employee lifecourse - BUT general agreement around need for more radical WLB provision by employers  Employer preference for cheaper flextime  BUT: allow workers only to juggle the temporal pattern of hours – for some workers they merely address the SYMPTOMS of work life conflict NOT deeper underlying CAUSES (e.g. long work hours; long commutes)  C.f. range of other employee preferences for more useful WLB policies & practices which adjust LOCATION of work & REDUCE work hours e.g. 3 & 4 day workweek e.g. teleworking / working from home  Hence, need for comprehensive suites of WLB provision to accommodate worker diversity of needs Reducing Work-Life Conflict? What Support Do IT Workers Want? ‘I personally enjoy the benefits of working from home a few days a week, which I'm very grateful for as I can juggle work & two children more easily and am able to empty the dishwasher, hang the washing out on a break and pick them up from nursery / childminders on time. However what I don't like about this is the fact that it means that my work and home life just merge into one - I'm constantly doing a bit of both and am still on my laptop long after the boys have gone to bed. But I couldn't do a full time job without this flexibility. But I also think I hinder my career prospects by not making an appearance in the office most weeks. IT Strategic Architect, female UK MNC, UK SE
  • 13. Uneven WLB Provision by IT Employers (James, 2017) Category Arrangement Dublin (N=74) % Cambridge (N=76) % Flexible Work Arrangements Flextime Flexplace (work from home 1 or 2 days a week) Flexplace (work from home 3 or 4 days a week) Job sharing (one job undertaken by 2 or more persons) Annualised hours 73 74 35 9 8 61 58 53 4 11 Reduced Work Hours Part-time work Compressed work weeks (4 days work in 5) Term-time working 49 31 8 59 29 9 Personal Leave Extra-statutory maternity leave Extra-statutory paternity leave Career break / sabbatical 32 14 19 12 9 7 Practical Help with Child Care Employer-subsidised childcare Information referral service for childcare Workplace nursery 4 4 3 8 3 1 Other WLB counselling / training 15 4
  • 14. Unevenness of total bundles of WLB provision (James 2017, N=150) 0 5 10 15 20 25 30 35 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 WLB PROVISION SCORE TOTALFIRMS Dublin firms Cambridge firms All firms
  • 15. WLB  Routine Learning Benefits Employer Survey Perceived impacts of WLB provision on organisational performance (2004-7) (N=142)  Improved workplace envt for creativity and learning: 54%  Increased worker productivity: 61%  Improved company image to potential recruits: 63%  Increased retention of women post maternity leave: 52%  Increased workforce diversity: 44%  Increased female recruitment: 36% Consistency with multiple metrics of firm performance over same timeframe In-depth Interviews Workers & Managers (N=65) Three key mechanisms through which uptake of worker preferred WLB arrangements benefits routine learning:  Worker self-determination and increased engagement  Reduced stress and improved quality of team communication  Enhanced capacity for comprehensive problem solving  Work team diversity  Diversity of external networks
  • 16. Work-Life Advantage: Routine Learning & Innovation I (i) WLB, self-determination & engagement Participants emphasised benefits that arise from being given autonomy to do creative think work when they work best - for many workers is often outside of ‘normal’ office hours. Home workers: benefits of fewer distractions and longer windows of interrupted time for focused thinking and creative problem solving. Other workers outlined the benefits of reduced work weeks for overall levels of enthusiasm and engagement with their work. By availing of different preferred WLB arrangements - effectively reshaping the temporal and spatial boundaries between home and work - workers are able to effect positive changes in their workplace learning environment… …results in a self-perceived improvement in their concentration, motivation, engagement and creativity “In the creative sense I get all of my best ideas when people stop talking and the phone stops ringing, and when I can listen to music, & noone can ask me anything. And that’s always been in the evenings. So it suits me to work later and then come in the next day at eleven or twelve.” Developer, female, Dublin “I run in here on a Monday morning, absolutely love it, thrilled to be back here and charge out again on a Wednesday and say ‘ that’s great, see you again next Monday. The joke is that you get to see steam coming off the top of my head, you know, and everybody heaves a sigh of relief when I’m gone on Thursday because they feel they can work at their own pace.” Manager, female, two young children, Dublin
  • 17. (ii) WLB, stress & communication between colleagues Learning and innovation are fundamentally interactive processes: provides a basis for benchmarking evolving ideas; for ambiguities to surface and be clarified; increases the potential for novel and unexpected ideas, interpretations, and synergies Significant recognition amongst research participants of how common work-life conflicts undermine their ability to maintain the kinds of interaction and communication with colleagues that support worker learning within the firm Managers also identified problems of stress amongst team members Workers and managers described the positive consequences of greater spatial / temporal flexibility of work and or/ reduced total work hours in reducing personal stress levels, and thereby improving their personal abilities to communicate & interact “In IT, you buy the brain power of your consultants so it’s important for them not to get overworked because as their stress levels go through the roof, their creativity, their problem solving just goes right down, and they make mistakes.” Diversity Manager, female, two children, Dublin “If you’re stressed out of your head you can’t communicate, you can’t come down because you’re ill at ease”. Manager, female, two young children, Dublin Work-Life Advantage: Routine Learning & Innovation II
  • 18. (iii) WLB enhancing capacities for problem- solving through workteam diversity Female (and some male) workers with dependent children quit companies with ltd WLB provision - move to companies with better provision By attracting / retaining workforce with diverse personal life interests and care responsibilities (rooted in diversity of gender, age, position in life course, organizational tenure, accumulated experience) research participants outlined benefits for learning: •(i) Work teams draw on wider INTERNAL diversity of technical skills, experiences, and organizational perspectives when dealing with novel problems •(ii) Gives firms more diverse personal contact networks providing access to EXTERNAL information & knowledge “If you’ve got five people maybe around the same age, the same culture, they’ll probably come out with some fairly similar ideas. But if you’ve got a lot of people with different ideas, you can manage those different ideas for innovation, the creativity.... I mean it’s a business motivation you know, I’m not here [in HR] because it’s nice to have diversity, I’m here because it affects the bottom line”. Diversity Manager, female, two children, Dublin Work-Life Advantage: Routine Learning & Innovation III ‘It’s not a charity, things like advancement of women, we feel we need to do that because we need to exploit that part of our workforce. In a world where skills are scarce, trying to make sure you’re exploiting those. So there’s a business driver with work life balance’. HR Manager, Female, large US-owned IT MNC, Dublin.
  • 19. Work-Life DisAdvantage? Constraints on Routine Learning HOMEWORKING DIFFICULTIES  Reduced chance face-to-face interactions  Team members left out of the loop  Work group management difficulties (esp. Agile Devt)  Difficulties scheduling customer meetings Problems felt especially as workers move from 4 day week to 3 day week (multiple possible permutations of days off - confusion) Instances of customer resistance (stigma of part-time) Range of ameliorating technologies identified:  Devt of in-house instant messaging systems  Communal customer email systems (two job sharers, one email account)  Centralised online data storage (eliminates problems of files / memory sticks left elsewhere) “In product development, we’re making rapid iterations of small amounts of functionality on a regular basis, like on a weekly basis. And that operates on the principle of deciding what you’re gonna do in relatively short increments but talking about it a lot as you’re doing it and making changes on the fly. And that’s tricky if you’re at home, you’re out of that. And also, people think well he’s not really that interested anymore anyway so they tend to begin just to write the person out of the picture, it’s the ‘out of sight out of mind’ thing”. CTO, male (unmarried, no children), Dublin Only 2.5% of firms (N=142) identified a negative impact of WLB provision on their ‘corporate environments for learning and creativity’, & 5% a reduction in productivity (but c.f. overall measured improvements in performance !)
  • 20. Unpacking Labour Churning, Cross-Firm Job-To-Job Mobility & Knowledge Transfer  ‘One of the most important sources of knowledge flows is the knowledge embodied in highly qualified personnel which flows directly from research institutes to private firms in the form of graduates and also moves between firms in the form of mobile labour… the recombining of talent in new constellations through labour mobility is […] one of the most important sources of innovation in dynamic clusters’. (Wolfe and Gertler 2004: 1076)  Well rehearsed set of arguments, however, role of WLB in shaping these knowledge spillovers previously not known
  • 21. Uneven WLB Provision: Impacts on Worker Mobility (IT worker survey) Differential WLB provision shapes workers’ cross- firm job-to-job mobility preferences (often with pay cut) Worker survey (N=122):  Ave tenure: 3.5 yrs (excl 19% non-movers)  WLB provision not useful previous firm: 41%  PUSH: poor WLB in previous firm as important reason for leaving: 33% (39% working mothers)  PULL: better WLB provision in current firm as important reason for moving: 65% (76% working mothers)  Key role of corporate culture / managerial non-ratification of WLB take-up (push) “I rejected a job offer from a company closer to home because they were not open to the idea of working from home or even starting 30 minutes later than others (to sync my commute with my wife)!” Male Software Engineer, Dublin “The previous company I had a very tough time and that’s the main reason for me to look elsewhere. So one of my children has a health problem, and I’m receiving on the other side pressure from my boss: ‘when are you coming back to work? Enough of your rest’. That’s what I’m hearing, but I’m not resting there I’m struggling with my kid you know?” IT Specialist, mother of young twins, Cambridge
  • 22. “We’d spent a lot of time and money as a company in developing people, and we were seeing people have kids and then leave because they couldn’t handle the overtime and things like that. There was all this talent and knowledge of all the processes we’d put in, it was quite innovative, all vanishing out the door. So we developed a working from home policy. Did it impact our turnover? Absolutely… we put in home working and turnover came down by 25%, we did some other things to reduce it further, but it definitely did reduce”. HR Manager, male, two young children, Dublin Uneven WLB Provision: Impacts on Worker Mobility (IT employer survey) Employer survey (N=142): manager perceived impacts of WLB provision on labour turnover (2004-7)  Improved company image to potential recruits: 72%  Increased female recruitment: 45%  Increased retention women post mat leave: 63%  Increased workforce diversity: 44% N.B. consistent with measured changes in % female workforce & labour turnover over same period ‘Right across the board they’ve really cut back on part time working and they’ve lost a lot of strong people, people like myself who have a lot to bear… so much embedded knowledge of the industry, of the market, of the customer base. Because the norm is they just get out, they leave when they find the situation untenable at home.’ Business Devt Manager, female, two young children, Dublin
  • 23. Quality of (im)mobile female embodied IT competencies ROLE Specific job titles (females, Dublin and Cambridge, N=115) % SENIOR MANAGEMENT Director, CEO, Manager, Contributions EMEA, Director, Senior Manager, International Service Manager, Chief of Staff, Head of Technology, Executive Director, Senior Programme Manager, Head of Department, Director, Director Product Management, CEO, Director, Managing Director 15 TECHNICAL MANAGERS User Management, user experience manager, Senior Trainer, Service Manager, Senior Project Manager, Project Manager, Project Manager, Project Manager, Assistant Director of Product Development, E-learning Services Manager, Implementation Services Manager, Project Manager, product manager, Special projects Manager, Project Manager, Project Manager, GIS Project Leader, project manager, Product Line Director, Product Line Director, Project Manager, Project Manager, IT Manager, project manager, Project Manager, Senior Technology Project Manager, Program Manager, Service Desk Manager, Customer and Supplier Service Manager, QA Manager, Senior Project Manager, Transformation Programme Manager, Deputy IT Director 29 TECHNICAL Software Engineer, MSI Packager, Software Tester, Learning Technologist, Java developer, Software Architect, Test Team Leader, Software Engineer Applications Support Specialist, Software Engineer, IT Strategist, Consultant, Software Tester, Consultant, Consultant, QA TESTER, software engineer, Consultant, Mechanical Engineer, Quality Systems Coordinator, Software Engineer, Software Engineer, System Administrator, elearning consultant, Freelance HTML/CSS Designer, Consultant, Test Consultant, User Interface Developer, IT Professional, Network Engineer, Senior Consultant, Systems Administrator, IT Consultant, MIS Analyst/Developer, Software Engineer, software developer, Method Consultant, Web Developer, Web Manager, Web Producer, Web Producer, Web Officer, Web Producer 41 RESEARCH Business Analyst , research associate, Lead Business Analyst, Business Analyst, researcher, researcher, Business Analyst, Research Fellow, researcher, researcher, Business Anaylst 10 HR HR Systems Administrator, HR Professional 2 MARKETING Marketing Manager, Marketing, Product marketing manager, Marketing Manager, business communications executive 4
  • 24. Gendered work-life conflict, WLB and constrained job-to-job interfirm mobility  Need to question innovation assumption: interfirm job-to- job mobility always & everywhere ‘good’  Disruptive effects on family support networks, established school runs, etc – i.e. complex temporal and spatial coordination of caring activities (urban carescapes)  Interviews: female (and some male) IT workers who stay put as a function of WLB considerations  Dominant atomistic conceptions of self-motivated, ideal worker inter-firm job hopping in regional learning literature also ignore:  Trailing spouse syndrome  Devaluation of female embodied knowledge through compromise jobs in other sectors chosen not for individual utility but family utility (Folbre 1994)  Myriad of ‘glass ceiling’ structures that further undermine female worker mobility (extensive occupational mobility literature)
  • 25. Uneven Regional Geographies of Work-Life Advantage Overall: Dublin workers having a harder time: 46% Dub IT workers unsatisfied with current WLB (c.f. 30% Cam IT workers) Interviews highlight Dublin urban sprawl (Celtic Tiger, house price growth, longer commutes): 19% of Dublin workers surveyed commute 3 or more hours per day (c.f. 7% of Cambridge workers) Differences in gendered welfare regime:  NO statutory provision for paternity leave in Ireland  NO legal right to work PT in Ireland (employer discretion)  Statutory maternity leave lower in Ireland c.f. UK  Ireland’s higher costs of childcare in relation to average incomes i.e. ‘employer provided extra-statutory maternity / paternity leave’ has a different meaning in Dublin c.f. Cambridge (Im)mobility effect? e.g. 57% Dublin IT employers report increased female retention post-maternity leave as a function of their WLB provision 2004-7 (c.f. 42% Cambridge)
  • 26. Work-Life Advantage: Conclusions  Book opens up unexplored dimensions of high tech regional economies (labour, gender, family).  How workers’ embeddedness in gendered, reproductive networks of family, care and community shapes their (non)participation in routine learning and innovation activities of knowledge production  Employer provided WLB arrangements important (yet under-researched) element of firms’ institutionalised learning envts  New evidence on positive impacts / lack of negative impacts of WLB provision on firms’ learning & innovative capacity  Irony (and dangers) of employer cost-saving cut-backs  Aim is not to reject moral / ethical arguments for WLB, but to cast in a language employers can ‘hear’.  Dark side of cross-firm knowledge spillovers, rooted in:  Gendered dissatisfaction with work-life conflict, unequal division of household labour, uneven & often inadequate employer WLB provision, worker concerns for better quality of life.
  • 27. ′Who thought the topic of work–life balance could be so interesting? Al James makes it riveting. His sometimes– poignant, sometimes heart–rending, sometimes outrageous (how can they get away with that?) stories of the collision of work–lives and every–day lives of high– tech workers in Dublin and Cambridge make for utterly compelling reading′ Professor Trevor Barnes, UBC. ′The changing nature of employment, the growing diversity of the workforce and the implications for individuals and households are the questions of our time. In this fascinating book, feminist and regional economics meet head–on as James provides insights into the implications of the growth of ′′knowledge work" for firms and for families.′ Prof Linda McDowell, Oxford. Reviews
  • 28. Further Reading James A. Work-life ‘balance’, recession and the gendered limits to learning and innovation (or, why it pays employers to care). Gender, Work and Organization 2014, 21(3), 273-294. James A. Work-life 'balance' and gendered (im)mobilities of knowledge and learning in high-tech regional economies. Journal of Economic Geography 2014, 14(3), 483-510. James A. Work-Life Advantage: Sustaining Regional Learning and Innovation. Wiley-Blackwell, 2017. https://www.ncl.ac.uk/gps/staff/profile/alja mes.html#background