The Cincinnati-area Businesses Needs Assessment Survey, 1996

In 1996, the Kunz Center for the Study of Work and Family at the University of Cincinnati contacted area businesses about the problems their employees experienced in balancing work and family obligations. We sent surveys to 100 human resource directors of large and medium-size businesses. The majority of responses (52%) came from surburban firms located inside the I-275 beltway; 28% of firms were located downtown, and the rest (20%) were located beyond the I-275 beltway. In addition, 72 percent of firms were in the private sector, and 28% were government related.

Cincinnati-area firms are reliant upon female labor: 60% of human resource directors reported that one-half or more of their workforce was comprised of women (click here for a chart on female employment). As expected, the greater the share of female employment in the firm, the more problems workers reported in balancing work and family obligations. Moreover the overall incidence of work and family conflict was quite high, with 45% of human resource directors reporting workers in their firms had "a great deal of difficulty" finding enough time for their families (click here for a chart on work and family conflict). Even so, most human resource directors report that few of their programs are used by employees. With the exception of employee assistance programs, three out of four workers fail to use ombudpersons, mediation, or training workshops for reducing conflict between work and family (click here for a chart on non-use of benefits).

Perhaps we should not be surprised that workers are experiencing work and family conflicts, but avoiding programs designed to alleviate those conflicts. Respondents to our survey worked in large corporations, in which long hours at work are needed to advance a career. Family time is not supposed to interfere with work. Employees who seek more time with their families may be unintentionally signalling their lack of commitment to their career. For futher evidence of this arguement in a "family-friendly" corporation, see the review of Arlie Hochschild's The Time Bind, found in the "book reviews" section of the Kunz Center home page.


Steve Carlton-Ford
Department of Sociology
University of Cincinnati
PO Box 210378
Cincinnati, OH 45221-0378
Phone: (513) 556-4716
Fax: (513) 556-0057