Career Planning & Family Planning: Female Perspectives Surveyed

Every woman contextualizes her career planning objectives with her decision to have children. After deciding whether she wants to have children, the big question is when. Is it best for a woman to establish herself in a career trajectory, or should she put her career on hold to have children earlier? Is it possible to have the best of both worlds as a full-time mom with a full-time job?

Of course, these questions are equally important to dads. After all, every father reassesses his career plans to ensure that his children's needs are met. He might become a stay-at-home dad, or he may choose a high- paying opportunity over his low-paying passions. In any case, the physical challenges that women encounter with pregnancy make the female experience different -- not easier and not harder-- just different. But then, not all women give birth. Some choose to start a family by adopting.

When career planning, nearly every woman questions the right age to have children. What age range is best for a career? What age is best for the long-term well being of my family? When will I be ready? When should I be ready? Of course, the answers to these questions are among the most personal decisions that a woman can make, and ultimately, no decision is universally right or wrong.

So what do women decide and how do they feel about their choices?

In March 2010, Forbes and partnered to survey women about childbirth, adoption, career planning, and the right age to start a family. Here's a synopsis of their findings:

  • 76 percent of surveyed women believed the best time to have a child is when she is between 25 and 34 years old. 42 percent expressed that the ideal age range was between 25 and 29. According to the survey, women selected these age ranges because they allowed enough time for a woman to become stable in her finances and career.
  • Non-moms believe that 30-34 is the ideal age range to start having children. 35 percent of the surveyed women in this age range wish that they had their first child when they were younger.
  • 68 percent of mothers were happy with the timing of their first children.
  • 71 percent of surveyed non-mothers believed that motherhood had a negative impact on a woman's career. 56 percent of moms believe that motherhood creates a negative impact on a woman's career; however, only 30 percent of women felt that motherhood negatively impacted their own careers.
  • When returning to work after having a child, women tended to feel sad, anxious, or guilty; however, 60 percent of women expressed that they were happy to return to work after having their children.
  • 38 percent of moms believed that having a child made them stronger in their careers.

What do you think? Do your own views align with this survey?

Photo Credit: Playing with Brushes