According to the Architectural Reviews (AR’s) Sixth Annual Women in Architecture survey, 60% of women reported that having a child had a detrimental effect on their career trajectory.
Wait….What? How is this possible? Why would having a child be detrimental to one’s career? Aren’t children apart of the natural progression of life?
First of all, let’s take a quick look at the numbers. Because of the long path to becoming a licensed architect, females are already having children way later in life, on average. The mean age of a first-time mother in the United States is 26.3 and in architecture, the median age is 32. You can do the math on that one.
The fact is – we need to find a way to keep women in the workforce and allow them to live a ‘normal’ life, in terms of being successful in their careers and raising children. This can be accomplished through work / life balance policies that are favorable to all employees, but additionally, allow the talented women architects to stay employed – even while they are caring for and raising their children.
At JP Architects, Ltd. we have instituted policies and practices that allow our employees to put their family first. Let me give you an example. One employee at our firm wanted to go visit his family in Mexico for a month. Because of our cloud-based servers, he was still able to work and be valuable to the company, even while he was gone.
Another instance where our work/life practices came into play was during hiring. We were looking for a project manager and one of our top candidates made it clear that she needed to be home at a certain time because she had children to take care of. In many cases, this would eliminate the candidate from contention; however, not at JP Architects, Ltd.!
Our work/life balance practices have positively influenced the diversity, growth, work ethic and personal relationships of our office and employees. I like to think JP Architects, Ltd. is ahead of the curve and already working to keep women in the work force and on a positive career trajectory! We will do whatever we can to keep changing the standard at JP Architects, Ltd., but my hope is that we see these practices become more of the industry norm.
Until next time,
Jose R. Pareja, AIA