Is getting pregnant pre-VP level career suicide?

As the somewhat melodramatic title says. It doesn't seem like there were any similar questions posted before, so curious what is the census here. 

My logic is that you are only starting to bring in actual deals at the VP level. If I have kids before then, how in the world will I grind or source deals without networking? 

From a hiring/manager perspective, would you really consider a female candidate for a new role or promotion knowing she is pregnant or have kids? Have you promoted any women with kids from pre-VP to VP or beyond? If so, was that ever a factor? 

Not a discussion of ethic or legal issues, just curious what are the honest views on female candidates with kids. Asking because I would like to be realistic with my career goal setting, and it is a very soul crushing when I play out the post-childbirth scenario inside my head. 

Real Estate Modeling Course

  • Real-life RE Modeling Tests from actual Interviews
  • Various asset classes including multi-family, commercial and more
  • Huge discount - until more tests and cases added

Comments (13)

Apr 30, 2021 - 3:02am

Many of the AVPs, VPs, and MDs are my company are mothers. They advanced on the ranks despite having children, and it seems to not hinder their careers/promotions either.

I wouldn't view having children as a negative to your career. From what I have seen, it's not a factor. The factor that should matter is if you want a family or not.

  • Analyst 2 in RE - Comm
Apr 30, 2021 - 11:09pm

This is a huge relief. I definitely want a family, and I want to be a good parent. If I have to choose one, I'd choose my family even though I hope I'll never have to choose.

I can be totally off base here since I don't have kids - but I think to be a good parent (or a spouse, any roles in life truthfully), I will need to be content with myself/ my life. For now, it's very difficult for me to reconcile the idea of being content if I cant' charge at my career 120%. 

May 3, 2021 - 2:21am

Feel free to PM.  I had gotten to know a few female VPs and MDs that has a good work/life balance + family.  A few of the VPs who started families are now MDs.  

Companies from what I have seen will provide work life balance as long as they know ahead of time:  Terms of advancement - 0% that being pregnant stopped them from getting promoted.

Apr 30, 2021 - 9:36am

Having kids is not a problem at all.

If you come back and decide that you don't want to hustle anymore because you want to spend time with your kids (which is a totally reasonable and defensible outlook!) that might be a bit of a hamper for career progression.

Unless the question is "murder someone in cold blood" or something similarly ridiculous, the answer to any "is this career suicide question" is almost always going to be a qualified no.

Learn More

300+ video lessons across 6 modeling courses taught by elite practitioners at the top investment banks and private equity funds -- Excel Modeling -- Financial Statement Modeling -- M&A Modeling -- LBO Modeling -- DCF and Valuation Modeling -- ALL INCLUDED + 2 Huge Bonuses.

Learn more
  • Analyst 2 in RE - Comm
Apr 30, 2021 - 11:03pm

That's also true - what I want can change 5 years from now. I know I'm going to do my best as a parent, but part of me also hate the possibility that I will become "soft" in my career ambition or progression because of that. I want to have it both ways haha. 

Apr 30, 2021 - 9:58am

So, first I'll qualify... I'm a man, late 30s, with kids..... so can't totally speak from the woman's perspective but have lots of friends and data points (and those of my wife and her friends)...

Lots of people have kids at all stages of careers, and unless you work for some truly sexist assholes (which sadly do exist in real estate and elsewhere), there is no reason this should impact your career unless you so choose.

I say "so choose" because I do have friends (and many of my wife's friends tbh), who chose to "slow down" their career not pursue certain positions/promotions or even opt to be stay at home parent. In many cases, their firms bent over backwards to accommodate where possible. 

I know many women with kids in very, very senior positions and all levels in between. So I think this is totally doable. That said, having family to help take care of kids, willingness (and means) to use daycare, nannys, and other support systems can determine how easy this is on a family (presuming both parents work). That is super personal, only you know your deal. 

Your question kinda implies a "timing" strategy... i.e. have kids earlier or later in a career. My personal thoughts (we had kids when I was mid-30s), is do it as early as possible. I think the impact is worst the younger they are, and you are just more valuable career wise the older you are. This presumes you are in a place to have kids now, if not, I can also point to many examples of friend who had their first at or above the age of 40 and doing just fine career wise.

Bottom line, it doesn't matter. Life your life, have your career, have your family, as you choose. Millions just figure it out. No reason to stress this.    

  • Analyst 2 in RE - Comm
Apr 30, 2021 - 10:59pm

Thank you, redever! You noticed the timing part, which is really what worries me. I'm not in the position to be have kids yet for another 3 years, by then I'm assuming I'll be an associate or senior associate. This is what makes me nervous because I don't know if people will think it's weird that I'm an associate/ junior level employee and have a kid. 

Can you elaborate more on why we (assuming both men and women) are more vulnerable the older we are? I kind of assumed the opposite, so this is surprising. I thought being a more senior/ established person means you get more flexibility i.e. you can eat dinner with your kids when the analysts/ associates grind away at their desk? 

May 1, 2021 - 12:47pm

Can you elaborate more on why we (assuming both men and women) are more vulnerable the older we are?

This is actually pretty simple, you are probably more valuable in the workplace the older, more experienced you are. Taking "time off" whether to have a kid, go to grad school, travel, or whatever is less disruptive and costly at younger ages for most. Think about it, what's harder to manage... an associate/analyst taking 3-6 months off or a CEO doing the same? Plus with kids, they do in fact get "easier" the older they are (and this is likely more true for women due to the need/desire to be with young babies), so it is most disruptive the younger they are.

All that said, I really wouldn't try to intermix family and career planning that much, you just have to do the best you can with each. I'm not sure your age, but at mine, I know a lot of friends who had great difficult getting pregnant and starting mid-late 30s (from woman's age) was assuredly part of it. So, if you are with the person you want to have a family with, then just do when makes sense. I think what messes all this up for a lot of people (and frankly with disproportionate impact on women), is that the career (or just careerism) delays and impacts dating and thus marriage. I kinda doubt all those people who become parents in late-30s or even early 40s really think that was optimal, more like last chance before missing out completely. 

So, my personal thoughts are if you are in the relationship where you both want kids, no real reason to wait. I really can't see how "waiting" helps a career, I'm pretty sure it is the exact opposite for most. There is one glaring exception of course, where one parent intends on being staying at home with the kids, then working some extra years to increase savings/wealth while allowing the working parent to get promoted/raises can make more sense financially (but risk infertility issues). If you are planning on having a long career, better to get as many "life events" done early (like grad school, kids, summers in Europe, etc.) as they will be more costly in compound function later. 

  • Analyst 2 in RE - Other
Apr 30, 2021 - 12:16pm

It's also important to make sure your team has other working parents. I'm the only woman in a team of men; two of them have kids and are married to stay-at-home wives. I rarely see them go home early to pick up their kids or to take their kids to some appointment, because their wives take care of that. If I decide to have kids and keep working with this team, I don't think they'd know what to do with me. 

Start Discussion

Total Avg Compensation

May 2021 Investment Banking

  • Director/MD (9) $911
  • Vice President (35) $364
  • Associates (195) $233
  • 2nd Year Analyst (110) $151
  • Intern/Summer Associate (96) $145
  • 3rd+ Year Analyst (26) $145
  • 1st Year Analyst (404) $131
  • Intern/Summer Analyst (330) $82