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Daddy's home; Breadwinner's role is crumbling as working women bring home the bacon.

THE man of the future will be left holding the baby. By 2020, up to one in five fathers will be based at home.

The lives of both men and women will be radically affected by the trend of the "Downshifting Dad", a report from Barclays Life reveals.

The research was carried out by the Henley Centre, which uses economists, market analysts, sociologists and technological forecasters to predict events.

At present, 93 per cent of men think of themselves as the main breadwinner, and 98 per cent say their partner is the main carer for their children when they go out to work.

But that's about to change. The report predicts that the increased feminisation of the workplace will lead to a "masculinisation" of the home.

Although two in three men say they would like to spend more time with their children, just one in 20 has so far managed it. Now changes in work practices are set to make it easier.

The earning power of women is expected to grow rapidly - already 53 per cent with children under five work. But men will find it harder to support their family as developing technology increases the amount of short-term contract work around.

The workplace will gradually shift from the office, and a quarter of all people will work at home by 2020.

A long-term growth in real incomes, too, will make it easier for men to spend more time at home. But they will have to plan further ahead to ensure they can cope with financial change. "Fathers of the future will need to work hard to update their skills," says Nigel Waite, marketing director of Barclays Life.

"Not only will they have to play a greater role in educating their own children, they will need to educate themselves at the same time."

Despite this trend, fewer than half of men have made financial provision in case they have to take on the day-to-day child care themselves.

The need for career breaks will affect two main areas of finance: pensions and savings.

By not contributing regularly to a pension, fathers could pay dearly for even short career breaks. For instance, a 40-year father who has paid pounds 50 a month into a pension scheme for 10 years would have to dig deep in his pocket to pay for a career break.

After just one year out, he would need to increase his pension contribution by nine per cent to collect the same pension when he turns 65.

Building up savings is also vital. Even though the female partner may be in a position to support the family, savings will be gradually depleted.

So building up savings as far in advance as possible is essential.

Cook tends the small fry

THE future has already arrived for Robert Drummond.

When he and his wife Sue, 41, started a family they agreed that he would look after the children while she continued with her career as a learning resources manager at North West Kent College.

For Robert, 35, a fully- qualified chef from Erith, Kent, could earn nowhere near as much as she did.

"And a chef's hours are very unsocial for family life," says Robert. But staying at home has not meant being idle. Far from it.

As well as looking after Robyn, 11, and Richard, nine, he has been studying to be a teacher - and is taking his teaching certificate next year.

So by the time both children are into secondary school he should be embarking on a more rewarding and higher-paid career.

In the driving seat at home

JUNE Marsh, 36, earns more as an independent financial adviser than her husband Adrian who works as a chauffeur.

So when she had triplets Aaron, William and Nathaniel it made sense for Adrian, 43, to be left holding the baby.

Twenty-one months on, he combines being a full-time daddy with working shifts at the couples' local Sainsburys.

Once the children are into full-time school he plans to go back to chauffeuring on weekdays and do freelance wedding work at weekends.

Says Adrian: "I feel very fortunate. Most fathers are lucky if they see their children for an hour a day.

"I am able to be with them all day long.

"June gets a little upset when she has to leave them in the morning."
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1998 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Business
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Dec 9, 1998
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