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The Skills and Autonomy of Female Part-Time Work in Britain and Sweden
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, The Swedish Institute for Social Research (SOFI).
2012 (English)In: Research in Social Stratification and Mobility, ISSN 0276-5624, E-ISSN 1878-5654, Vol. 30, no 2, 187-201 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

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.
Keyword [en]
female part-time, job quality, skills, autonomy
National Category
Sociology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-62071DOI: 10.1016/j.rssm.2011.07.001ISI: 000311914900004OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-62071DiVA: diva2:439715
Available from: 2011-09-08 Created: 2011-09-08 Last updated: 2017-12-08Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. What's Sex Got to Do with It? Women and Men in European Labour Markets
Open this publication in new window or tab >>What's Sex Got to Do with It? Women and Men in European Labour Markets
2011 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This thesis consists of four empirical studies on women and men in European labour markets.

Study I examines effects of the sex of the immediate supervisor on the time men and women spend in initial on-the-job training (OJT) in Sweden. The results show that men receive longer initial OJT than women do, but men’s time in training is independent of the supervisor’s sex. For women in the private sector, the chances of receiving long initial OJT are higher if the immediate supervisor is a man.

Study II analyses effects of labour market institutions on the quality of part-time work by comparing the skills and autonomy of female part-time jobs in Britain and Sweden. 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. Both British and Swedish part-time employees face relative disadvantages when compared to female full-time workers.

Study III examines associations between maternal employment policies and wage penalties for mothers by skill in 10 European countries. The results indicate that, net of variation in female labour force participation, extensive publicly funded childcare is associated with a modest decrease in the motherhood wage penalty, regardless of skill. By contrast, paid maternity leave is weakly associated with a larger motherhood wage gap in less skilled jobs only.

Study IV examines the extent to which women’s opportunities to attain positions of high workplace authority are related to maternal employment policies, such as paid parental leave and part-time work. Based on data from 25 European countries, the results show that a high proportion of women working long part-time hours is associated with a wider gender gap in the attainment of high authority positions, to the disadvantage of women. However, paid parental leave appears to be unrelated to the gender authority gap.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Department of Sociology, Stockholm University, 2011. 36 p.
Series
Swedish Institute for Social Research, ISSN 0283-8222 ; 85
Keyword
gender inequality, labour market, country comparisons, skills, work-family balance, part-time, maternity/parental leave, childcare, family policy, Sweden, Europe
National Category
Sociology
Research subject
Sociology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-61877 (URN)978-91-7447-329-2 (ISBN)
Public defence
2011-09-30, De Geersalen, Geovetenskapens hus, Svante Arrhenius väg 14, Stockholm, 10:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Note
At the time of the doctoral defense, the following papers were unpublished and had a status as follows: Paper 1: Manuscript. Paper 2: In press. Paper 3: Manuscript. Paper 4: Manuscript.Available from: 2011-09-08 Created: 2011-09-01 Last updated: 2012-02-17Bibliographically approved

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