PhotoA new survey commissioned by CareerBuilder finds that a majority of women over the age of 25 are postponing starting a family in order to focus on their careers.

Eighty-three percent of women are delaying their family plans while opting to allow their career to take center stage. Slightly fewer male respondents (79%) indicated that they were doing the same.

Wanting to earn and save enough money to provide for their family was the top reason to postpone family plans among both women and men who plan to have children. But while men and women may be equally content to focus on their careers, the two genders share few similarities in the realm of career expectations.

Different views

The study found that men and women have very different ideas of what they expect to get out of their career, in terms of both expected annual salary and job title.

“There is a growing trend among today’s workforce – both men and women are waiting to have children until they have reached their professional and financial goals,” said Rosemary Haefner, chief human resources officer at CareerBuilder.

“Despite similar reasons for postponing family plans, men and women differ widely on how much they expect to earn and at what level of position over their careers,” said Haefner.

Gender differences regarding career expectations were apparent in the fact that 44% of men expected to reach a six figure salary, compared to just 20% of women. Over a third of women (34%) believed there is unequal pay at their organization.

Title expectations

In addition to higher salaries, men were also more likely to expect higher job levels during their career. Twenty-two percent of women expected to remain or reach entry-level, while only 10% of men had such modest expectations.

More than double the amount of men (9%, compared to 4% of women) expected to become company owner. Aspirations to become vice president reflected a similar discrepancy, with 5% of men expecting to reach vice president level compared to just 2% of women.

Additional findings from the study showed that 63% of women who plan to have children are waiting until at least age 30 to start a family. Fifteen percent of women (and twice as many men) said they are waiting until at least age 35 to start a family. 

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