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Moving Down: Women’s Part-time Work and Occupational Change in Britain 1991–2001

Author

Listed:
  • Connolly, Sara

    () (University of East Anglia)

  • Gregory, Mary

    () (University of Oxford)

Abstract

The UK’s Equal Opportunities Commission has recently drawn attention to the ‘hidden brain drain’ when women working part-time are employed in occupations below those for which they are qualified. These inferences were based on self-reporting. We give an objective and quantitative analysis of the nature of occupational change as women make the transition between full-time and part-time work. We construct an occupational classification which supports a ranking of occupations based on the average level of qualification of those employed there on a full-time basis. Using the NESPD and the BHPS for the period 1991-2001 we show that perhaps one-quarter of women moving from full- to part-time work move to an occupation at a lower level of qualification. Over 20 percent of professional women downgrade, half of them moving to low-skill jobs; two-thirds of nurses leaving nursing become care assistants; women from managerial positions are particularly badly affected. Women remaining with their current employer are much less vulnerable to downgrading, and the availability of part-time opportunities within the occupation is far more important than the presence of a pre-school child in determining whether a woman moves to a lower-level occupation. These findings indicate a loss of economic efficiency through the underutilisation of the skills of many of the women who work part-time.

Suggested Citation

  • Connolly, Sara & Gregory, Mary, 2007. "Moving Down: Women’s Part-time Work and Occupational Change in Britain 1991–2001," IZA Discussion Papers 3106, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp3106
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Richard Blundell & Mike Brewer & Marco Francesconi, 2005. "Job changes, hours changes and the path of labour supply adjustment," IFS Working Papers W05/21, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
    2. Manning, Alan & Petrongolo, Barbara, 2005. "The part-time pay penalty," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 4614, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    3. Gavan Conlon, 2001. "The differential in earnings premia between academically and vocationally trained males in the United Kingdom," CEE Discussion Papers 0011, Centre for the Economics of Education, LSE.
    4. Joseph G. Altonji & Christina H. Paxson, 1992. "Labor Supply, Hours Constraints, and Job Mobility," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 27(2), pages 256-278.
    5. Hakim, Catherine, 1998. "Social Change and Innovation in the Labour Market: Evidence from the Census SARs on Occupational Segregation and Labour Mobility, Part-Time Work and Students' Jobs, Homework and Self-Employment," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198293811.
    6. Diane M. Houston & Gillian Marks, 2003. "The Role of Planning and Workplace Support in Returning to Work after Maternity Leave," British Journal of Industrial Relations, London School of Economics, vol. 41(2), pages 197-214, June.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    Keywords

    female employment; part-time work; occupation; life-cycle; downgrade; over-qualification;

    JEL classification:

    • C23 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Models with Panel Data; Spatio-temporal Models
    • C25 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Discrete Regression and Qualitative Choice Models; Discrete Regressors; Proportions; Probabilities
    • C33 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Multiple or Simultaneous Equation Models; Multiple Variables - - - Models with Panel Data; Spatio-temporal Models
    • C35 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Multiple or Simultaneous Equation Models; Multiple Variables - - - Discrete Regression and Qualitative Choice Models; Discrete Regressors; Proportions
    • J16 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination
    • J22 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Time Allocation and Labor Supply
    • J62 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Job, Occupational and Intergenerational Mobility; Promotion

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