Executive Parents Fear Potential Retribution

August 22, 2005 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - Executives haven't given up the notion of taking time off to raise children and to then return to the workforce, but many fear potential retribution from colleagues.

A survey conducted by executive recruiter Web site TheLadders.com found that 42% of the survey respondents said the execs were “resented for taking time off.” Another 23% feared that anyone taking an extended leave was “too far removed from the action to be effective,” according to a news release .

But that was far from a universal feeling. Another 34% said that executives returning from an extended maternity/paternity leave would be “valued for their renewed perspective.”

Most likely because of the fears of ill will from colleagues, executive parents are determined to keep one foot firmly planted in the workplace. When asked what they would do if money was no object and they had young children, 53% of executives said they would continue to work, but at a reduced load. Thirty-nine percent of the executives surveyed said they would be a full-time parent. Just 9% said they’d continue working full time.

According to the survey, the average allotment for paid maternity leave is nine weeks. Forty-four percent of respondents said they receive six week paid leave; 27% receive 12-weeks; 17% receive eight weeks; 6% receive 16 weeks; and 6% receive more than 16 weeks. When asked: “Are the maternity policies at your company sufficient?” the response was split down the middle. Fifty-three percent said “yes” and 47% said “no.”

“Companies need diverse workforces to thrive in today’s economy. Varied, well-informed perspectives are critical to any business’ interaction with customers,” said TheLadders.com president and CEO, Marc Cenedella. “But, for those executives who want to take an extended leave, the key to a smooth transition back into the workforce is to stay engaged: keep reading and sending e-mails, meeting with colleagues and reading the trade publications. It is important not to get too far removed.”

TheLadders.com’s look at parental leave is based on a series of surveys of registered $100k+ executives conducted on TheLadders.com Web site between July 8, 2005 and August 18, 2005.