Bill Maher may not realize that his dislike for kids could be costing him money. Kids are no threat to a man’s success. Research shows that men with children fare better in the workforce than single men without children. Where professional success is concerned, children are clearly an asset to men.
On Psychology Today, an article written by a clinical psychologist in 2012 states that employers think dads are “more reliable and responsible employees than are guys who have no one to consider but themselves.” She wrote that this way of thinking applies especially to bachelors. When a man is married and doesn’t have kids, bosses are likely to assume that either a baby will be conceived soon or there is a fertility problem. Unfortunately, childfree bachelors are often stereotyped as irresponsible playboys.
In another Psychology Today article, written by the same psychologist in 2014, she noted dads earn more than moms. She cited research showing “childfree, unmarried women earn 96 cents for every dollar a man earns, while married mothers earn 76 cents, and a woman’s pay goes down with the addition of each child.” She believes there is more to the problem than just gender discrimination.
The psychologist who wrote the article is a woman, and she has noticed that the mothers in her profession are often the most distracted. They tend to have specific needs related to child rearing, and fulfilling those needs can decrease focus. This can include the pursuit of flexible work schedules or jobs closer to home. Typically, mothers are the ones who stay home with sick children. She commented:
Even among my peer group of psychologists, almost all who are mothers work part-time and the professional leadership positions tend to be held by male psychologists.
While the author doesn’t present any data showing men really do become better employees when they become fathers, it doesn’t seem to matter. A man who becomes a father is more likely than a childfree man to be hired or get a “boost” in his career. The perception, which seems to be accurate, is that fathers aren’t likely to be distracted by the needs of children, because mothers are the ones most likely to tend to their children. Men just have to focus on making money to support their families.
Maher could be even more wildly successful if he were to marry and have children. More people at work would use the words “responsible” and “reliable” to describe him. HBO might give him a raise. Kids aren’t his enemy; they’re his path to money.