Study: Working Parents Are More Productive than Single Employees

January 23, 2015

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. productive /prəˈdʌk tɪv/ (adj.) – being able to accomplish lots of things within a given time
Example: She was promoted as supervisor because she was very productive.

2. childbearing /ˈtʃaɪldˌbɛər ɪŋ/ (n.) – the act of giving birth
Example: One of the most painful experiences that a woman can go through is childbearing.

3. standing /ˈstæn dɪŋ/ (n.) – a general status or rank in life
Example: Employers would often look at the applicant’s academic standing.

4. privileged /ˈprɪv ə lɪdʒd, ˈprɪv lɪdʒd/ (adj.) – belonging to the wealthy and comfortable
Example: Only children from privileged families can apply in the exclusive school.

5. parental /pəˈrɛn tl/ (adj.) – related to being a parent
Example: She never discusses her parental problems at work.


Read the text below.
Parents of more than two children are more likely to be productive at work, a study claims.

The study’s main finding suggests that working parents with two or more children are more successful in their careers. In fact, these parents accomplish more tasks compared with parents with only one child and couples who have no children.

The researchers also found that working mothers are only able to be productive long after childbearing. This is because work performance suffers for mothers with young children. A working mother would be less productive by at most 12.5 percent after childbirth. The research has also noted that taking care of babies and toddlers are more difficult than taking care of teenagers.

Research economists from the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis conducted the study. The researchers aimed to determine how parenthood affects the work performances of female economists. They selected 10,000 academic economists who have been in the industry for three decades. The researchers based the level of productivity and success of each participant on the number and quality of academic studies they have published throughout their career. 

The study’s findings may be encouraging to working couples who hope to start a family and still maintain their careers. However, the researchers stressed that the study was limited to people with particularly high standing. The participants were academic economists who come from privileged backgrounds and who received high education. Most of them had also planned to be parents, with positions that provide them parental benefits. Female economists who can balance both parenthood and successful careers, according to the study, are also likely to be naturally productive and organized.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         In your opinion, what difficulties does a parent encounter when balancing work and family? Support your answer with examples.
·         Do you think there should be further studies on this subject? Why or why not?

Discussion B

·         In your opinion, does having a child hinder success? Why or why not?
·         What would be your advice to parents who struggle with both work and their children? 

January 23, 2015