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The Skills and Autonomy of Female Part-Time Work in Britain and Sweden

Halldén, K, Gallie, D and Zhou, Y (2012) The Skills and Autonomy of Female Part-Time Work in Britain and Sweden Research in Social Stratification and Mobility, 30 (2). pp. 187-201.

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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 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 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.

Item Type: Article
Divisions : Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences > Surrey Business School
Authors :
Halldén, K
Gallie, D
Zhou, Y
Date : June 2012
DOI : 10.1016/j.rssm.2011.07.001
Additional Information : NOTICE: this is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Research in Social Stratification and Mobility. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Research in Social Stratification and Mobility, 30(2), June 2012, DOI 10.1016/j.rssm.2011.07.001.
Depositing User : Symplectic Elements
Date Deposited : 24 Aug 2012 08:05
Last Modified : 31 Oct 2017 14:26

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