NERI Seminar Belfast: The Forgotten Workforce: the Labour Market Experiences of Older Female Part-time Workers
10 October 2019
Topic: The Forgotten Workforce: the Labour Market Experiences of Older Female Part-time Workers
Speaker: Dr Maeve O’Sullivan Lecturer in Human Resource Management, Cork University Business School, University College Cork
Date: 10th October, 2019
Time: 15:45 (Tea and coffee from 15:30, Seminar ends 16:45)
Venue: INTO, 23-24 College Gardens, Belfast, BT9 6BS
Women’s labour force participation in recent decades has been characterised as part-time and segregated in low status, poorly paid jobs. Factors such as the workings of labour markets, individual attributes such as education and work experience, constraints and preferences have all been proposed to explain the features and prevalence of contemporary female labour force participation. Despite this, there is a dearth of information on why older people in general and older women in particular, work part-time in Ireland. This paper seeks to add to this body of knowledge by comprehensively exploring the factors likely to influence why older female workers end up in part-time jobs in the Irish labour market and the characteristics of these jobs. The posing of these questions is particularly relevant given the high rate of part-time work among older women in Ireland – over one-third of all working women and almost half of those aged over 50 worked part-time in 2017.
Data is derived from a matched employer-employee dataset and a nationally-representative labour force survey in order to address the questions posed in this research. Findings reveal that the factors likely to influence part-time working among older females include under-employment, limited educational attainment, few years’ work experience and employment in lower occupations. The study also finds that the characteristics associated with these jobs include low-wage, private sector employment with few employment benefits. The seminar concludes with a discussion on the implications of these findings from individual, organisational and societal perspectives.
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INTO, 23-24 College Gardens, Belfast, BT9 6BS