The Skills and Autonomy of Female Part-Time Work in Britain and Sweden
2012 (English)In: Research in Social Stratification and Mobility, ISSN 0276-5624, Vol. 30, no 2, 187-201 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Most OECD countries have experienced an increase of female part-time employment in the last decades. It has been argued that part-time work may give greater employment flexibility, enabling mothers to reconcile conflicting demands of family and work and thereby facilitating their integration into the wage economy. At the same time, it has been suggested that female part-time work implies segmentation of the labour force into a core and a periphery, with marginalized, low qualified jobs for part-time employees. However, little attention has been given to the possible mediating effect of the institutional context on potential job quality disadvantages of part-timers. We examine this question by comparing the skills and autonomy of female part-time workers in two countries, Britain and Sweden, often considered as representing quite distinct forms of institutional regime. The results show that female part-time employees in Sweden hold positions of higher skill and have more autonomy compared to their equivalents in Britain. Even so, both British and Swedish part-time employees face relative disadvantage when compared to female full-time workers. We conclude that differences in the institutional systems of Sweden and Britain do have a significant effect on the absolute skill level of part-time work. However, the relative disadvantage of part-timers persists despite Swedish policies giving greater salience to improvements in the quality of work.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2012. Vol. 30, no 2, 187-201 p.
female part-time, job quality, skills, autonomy
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-62071DOI: 10.1016/j.rssm.2011.07.001ISI: 000311914900004OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-62071DiVA: diva2:439715