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A 2013 report from the 100% Project identifies unconscious bias as a key influence in preventing men from achieving a work-life balance.

‘Men at work: what they want and how unconscious bias stops them getting it’ follows on from The 100% Project’s 2011 research report, which confirmed men working in Australian organisations actively want more time to contribute to their families, but think requesting more flexible work arrangements could adversely impact their career.

The recent report surveyed 138 men on a range of issues covering their career, family life, community contributions and the pursuit of personal interests.

The report revealed that many men are not getting what they want, with 30 per cent of respondents unhappy with their contributions to family and more than 50 per cent unhappy with the contributions they make to their community and the time they have available to pursue other interests.

Tellingly, the research showed that men have an interest in bridging the gap between career and family, with 70 per cent of respondents of claiming there had been times where they had needed a greater work-life balance.  But men were found to be far less likely to approach their employer to discuss flexible work options; only 27 per cent of men took the critical step of asking for it.

This suggests that men perceive work-life balance policies to be more relevant and more appropriately used by women. This is because their own unconscious bias actually has a bigger impact on whether they will access these initiatives than the support for work-life balance shown by their managers and the organisation’s policies and practices.

If this cultural mindset continue the implication is that women will continue to carry the burden of maintaining the home and raising children, hindering the ability for women to rise to leadership roles within their organisation.

A summary of the Men At Work research and the full report is freely available to download below:

Men at Work 2013 Overview Men at Work 2013 Research