Adapting to the Lifecourse? Evaluating Men and Women’s Working-Time Preferences
While participants in the Australian working time debate have focussed on the length and diversity of working hours, one of the central elements of the debate is whether these hours are meeting workers’ preferences. Hakim’s (2000) preference theory of work-lifestyle choices was developed to provide a framework for examining women’s work and family choices throughout their lives. She argues that while the majority of women have ‘adaptive’ preferences for both work and family, the majority of men have ‘work-centred’ preferences. This paper examines this theory using the NLC data on work hours and preferences, amongst men and women over the lifecourse. We find that work hours and preferences vary over the lifecourse for women, both with and without children. Analysis of men’s work hours shows little variation dependent on lifecourse stage, contrary to women. However, when we examine men’s individual movements in and out of the workforce we find evidence of adaptive behaviour. Additionally, in some cases men’s preferences for adaptive behaviour are not being met.
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Volume (Year): 8 (2005)
Issue (Month): 2 (June)
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