White-collar employees globally are more likely than ever to be part of a household where both partners work full time. And this story is only becoming more common – 78% of millennials in the US are in a “dual career couple” compared to baby boomers at 47%.
While partners are becoming more egalitarian, women in heterosexual dual career couples – with or without children – still do most of the household/care work and are more willing to prioritize their partner’s career over their own. On top of this, workplaces have been built on a breadwinner format that makes “having it all” a myth for the vast majority of women, in particular. Furthermore, all individuals in dual career couples may experience stress, conflict and time constraints resulting from managing both work and life/family responsibilities, which can be exacerbated by jobs that require travel, temporary relocation and/or permanent relocation.
Employees in dual career couples are not a homogenous group so it is key to understand challenges and inclusive solutions for employees of different identities – including gender, sexual orientation, disability status, race, ethnicity and socio-economic status.
There are 7 evidence-based ‘plays’ to support dual career couples.
By putting these into action and successfully supporting all employees in dual career couples, companies can benefit from reduced absenteeism and enhanced productivity by reducing employees’ work-life conflict. They are also likely to be more attractive to potential candidates, further enhancing their ability to recruit top talent.