Working moms: Forget time off

A survey finds that a career break after having babies is seen as -- surprise, surprise -- a bad move for women

Published August 16, 2010 12:30PM (EDT)

From the department of Things We Already Knew, there comes news that taking time off work after having a baby is seen as a liability to women's careers. Put another way, courtesy of the ever-delicate Daily Mail, women "should return to work as quickly as possible or give up on having children altogether." Such is the sadly predictable finding from a survey of 100 of the U.K.'s top headhunters. 

The key question asked of the high-level recruiters was: "If women are looking to compete on an equal footing, and assuming they are equally well qualified, do you think that they will have to forsake a career break (for any reason), thus having comparable experience in order to reach the top positions?" A total of 53 percent answered "yes." Kit Scott Brown, CEO of InterExec, the company that conducted the survey, said: "The demands of working in a top executive position are such that by taking time out -- even for a few months -- many headhunters felt that women would be losing out on important opportunities to progress their career."

Some tradeoffs are inevitable when it comes to balancing work with family -- but this survey doesn't actually detail the degree to which women lose out. Instead, it serves as yet another reminder of what we've been told all along and gives the British tabloids the opportunity to once again announce that we women can't have it all, after all.

By Tracy Clark-Flory

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