Why focusing on work/life balance matters
- The ability of Virginia Tech to attract and retain the best faculty depends upon a culture that values and supports both the work and life needs of all faculty over the course of their careers.
- Men and women PhDs typically experience family formation and academic career progression differently. Although women now earn 50% of PhDs granted to U.S. citizens, they remain significantly underrepresented among tenure-track and tenured faculty. Given that the tenure clock generally coincides with the biological clock, women faculty often face particular challenges in achieving balance and success.
What our survey data tell us about work/life issues
- Data from two Virginia Tech surveys tell us that issues of work/life balance are sources of concern and dissatisfaction for both women and men in tenure-track and tenured appointments. However, women are significantly more likely to agree to statements indicating a high degree of tension between professional and family commitments. For example:
- 76% of women and 55% of men agree that “It is difficult to have a personal life and be promoted or earn tenure at Virginia Tech”
- 60% of women and 43% of men agree that their personal or family responsibilities have slowed their advancement at Virginia Tech
- more than half of all women respondents and 41% of the men have seriously considered leaving their current job in order to achieve a better balance between their personal and professional life
- 55% of the women and 44% of the men feel that their professional/job demands force them to make unreasonable compromises about personal or family responsibilities and interests (statements above from Faculty Work/Life Survey 2005)
- 60% of the pre-tenure women and 39% of the pre-tenure men are somewhat or very dissatisfied with the balance between professional time and personal or family time (COACHE 2007)
- Data from the Virginia Tech Human Resource Information System also tell us that women faculty are twice as likely to leave Virginia Tech voluntarily as their male counterparts, an unfortunate loss of talent and investment.
Points to consider about work/life balance
This document provides information relevant to supporting work/life balance among faculty members, such as: online resources for faculty and administration and examples of university policies that promote work-life balance.