Female-dominated workplaces are less flexible: study

Female-dominated workplaces are less flexible: study

Workers in female-dominated workplaces have less access to flexible working arrangements than those in gender-neutral and even male-dominated offices, according to a study.

It is commonly assumed that the low wages often found in female-dominated workplaces can be justified through better provision of family-friendly arrangements, researchers said.

However, the study provides evidence that low wages are accompanied by worse working conditions for many, they said.

The study by researchers at the University of Kent in the UK looked at individuals in 27 countries across The European Union (EU).

It found that the best workplaces for providing flexibility were gender-neutral - where men and women were equally represented.

In the study published in European Journal of Industrial Relations, researcher Heejung Chung noted what she called a 'women's work penalty' existed in every country covered by her.

She said the research provides the evidence to 'reject the assumption' that women have better access to flexible working arrangements and that female-dominated workplaces are better at providing them.

It questions the theory of 'compensating differentials' which claims that low wages found in female-dominated workplaces can be justified through the better provision of family-friendly arrangements, such as flexible working arrangements.

The implication for policymakers is that the group of the population that may be in most need of flexible work arrangements may be unable to gain access to them.

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