Work History Patterns and the Occupational Attainment of Women
One of the main differences between the labour market behaviour of men and women lies in the discontinuity of labour force attachment exhibited by most women over their lifetime - largely, but not exclusively, for the purpose of raising a family. These interruptions to their labour market experience constitute an important influence on the labour market position of women and provide a potentially important factor in the explanation of their labour market disadvantate. Skills are obtained to a considerable extent through labour market experience and may be blunted in periods of absence from the labour force. In addition, absence from the labour force removes an individual labour market and may thereby reduce the probability of gaining extry to the better jobs on re-entry. The objectives of this paper are firstly to describe the various work-history patterns exhibited by U.K. women and, secondly, to quantify the effect of these life-cycle factors on the occupational attainment, occupational progress and earnings of women. The data source is the National Training Survey (NTS) which provides a unique retrospective longitudinal data set on the work histories of over 50,000 individuals (For details see Manpower Services Commission (1976).
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