Dual careers and the willingness to consider employment in startup ventures

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Research Summary: To grow, startup ventures often require the skills of professional managers familiar with running larger organizations. However, risk considerations may discourage such candidates from departing high-paying, stable jobs. Interpreting the manager's decision within a household holding a “portfolio” of jobs, we hypothesize that having a spouse whose career is prioritized mitigates risk as a barrier to joining a startup. Survey data corroborate that both men and women with a career-prioritized spouse are less likely to report risk as a barrier. However, having a career-prioritized spouse only translates to a greater interest in startup employment among men. Our findings have implications for understanding the challenges startup ventures face when attracting managerial talent, how dual careers and gender affect managers' careers, and regional entrepreneurial ecosystems. Managerial Summary: Using survey data from professional managers working in corporate headquarters, we show that being in a dual-career household increases one's willingness and lowers the perceived risk of leaving their job and joining a startup venture—especially if the household prioritizes their spouse's career. However, the increased willingness to join a startup in households that prioritize their spouse's career is only manifest for men. These findings highlight how dual-career households can be a talent source for startup ventures and suggest that regions with greater concentrations of dual-career households might be especially advantageous for startup ventures. Nevertheless, our results also suggest that gender norms are an impediment for dual-career women when considering employment in startup ventures.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2175-2194
Number of pages20
JournalStrategic Management Journal
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.


  • dual careers
  • gender
  • household
  • joining startup ventures
  • managers
  • risk


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