Women and Flexible Working – IPPR

This report starts by noting that there is a ‘significant’ gap in male and female employment across Europe. It argues that this means economies are failing to utilise their full potential. In particular it highlights:

  1. Low rates of female employment, which effects economic output.
  2. A high prevalence of women working below their ‘qualification grade’, which might have effects in terms of a sub-optimal allocation of skills across an economy.
  3. Underemployment in terms of hours – particularly a persistent yet variable gap in working hours between men and women across typical life phases, which raises issues of productivity, staff retention and recruitment costs at the level of the firm.

The report looks at how flexible working options may play a part in addressing such negative outcomes. Furthermore, it also examines the challenges and opportunities that increased flexible working might offer. Findings include:

  • Increased part-time work and employee schedule control can be associated with an increased female employment rate.
  • The concentration of part-time work in low-level jobs may increase the tendency for women to work in occupations below their skill level.
  • Part-time work is often the main flexible working option, possibly leading to: unnecessarily low average working hours among new mothers, and mothers’ average working hours continuing to remain low throughout their careers.
  • High-levels of demand for a larger range of flexible working options among working women.

Read more at the IPPR.

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