Still, Borrero said it wasn't surprising that more than half appeared to be working at least in part for the paycheck. She said in her experience, the financial rewards of work also have been a big motivating factor in her decision to have a career and children.
"I also think that I've been able to give them the lifestyle that they have because of the career that I've had," she said of her own children.
(Read more: Millennials hit 30: It's the economy, not us)
The survey, which was conducted in November, covered 4,100 business executives from 32 countries and had a margin of error of 2 percentage points.
A group of executives from around the world might not be representative of all workers, and, of course, many parents don't have the luxury of choosing whether to collect a paycheck or not.
Still, other research has shown that for women at least, the ideal solution is often to work part time.
A Pew Research Center study of American workers conducted in late 2012 found that 47 percent of mothers with at least one child under age 18 said the ideal situation would be to work part time.
That compares with 32 percent of moms who said that ideally they would work full time, and 20 percent who said they'd prefer not to work at all.
(Read more: Look who's paying the marriage penalty this year)
Finances may play a role in determining the ideal situation. The Pew researchers found that lower-income moms and single moms were much more likely to say their ideal situation would be to work full time.
—By CNBC's Allison Linn. Follow her on Twitter
@allisondlinn and Google or send her an email.