Career Trajectories for Women After Childbirth: Job Quality and Work-Family Balance

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


In this article, we examined how women adjust their professional careers after the first childbirth. Reducing the hours of paid work is one way of reconciling work with family responsibilities. An alternative strategy consists of finding a job that integrates with family life more easily. We define jobs with better opportunities for positive role-combination (i.e. work and family) using the job demands control model of Karasek. Using the longitudinal SONAR-data set on the transition from school to work in Flanders, Belgium, we analysed how the career trajectories of young women (N = 809) change with family formation. The results suggest that women with children try to improve their work-family balance by changing the kind of jobs they work in. We found no indications, however, that mothers anticipate the future combination by choosing less demanding jobs. The largest decrease in job strain is realized by women who start working part-time. Part-time work as a combination strategy however, appears to be needed most in those jobs which offer few opportunities for successful combination.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)426-436
Number of pages11
JournalEuropean Sociological Review
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2013


  • Life Cycle


Dive into the research topics of 'Career Trajectories for Women After Childbirth: Job Quality and Work-Family Balance'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this