Conference Agenda

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Session Overview
RN13_05b: Work-family balance and work-family conflicts I
Thursday, 22/Aug/2019:
11:00am - 12:30pm

Session Chair: Kimmo Juhani Jokinen, University of Jyväskylä
Session Chair: Agnieszka Maria Furmańska-Maruszak, Nicolas Copernicus University in Toruń, Poland
Location: UP.2.219
University of Manchester Building: University Place, Second Floor Oxford Road

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The Joint Influence of Family and Occupational Trajectories on Retirement Timing in Four European Countries: a Life Course Approach

Jacques-Antoine Gauthier1, Thierry Rossier1,2, Nicky Le Feuvre1, Boris Wernli3

1University of Lausanne, Switzerland; 2Copenhagen Business School; 3Swiss centre of expertise in the social sciences

An individuals’ status varies over time according to his/her relational history and to the constraints and opportunities available at the meso and societal levels (e.g. labour market regulations, occupational career structures, or social protection systems). Moreover, family and occupational careers don’t only depend on individual characteristics, but also on the household composition and profile of the spouse or partner. Previous research suggests that women’s occupational histories tend to be marked by family events, whereas this is seldom the case for men. In most countries, entitlement to a full pension is associated with a higher likelihood of early retirement, and with lower levels of poverty in later life. In contrast, when employment trajectories are part-time or discontinuous this may lead to reduced pension benefits and hence broaden the range of potential retirement pathways (early, on-time or delayed), depending on family configurations and household resources.

In this paper, we analyse the family history, occupational trajectory and individual characteristics of those individuals who retire early in particular national settings. Adopting a life course perspective, we use multidimensional sequence analysis combined with event history analysis: 1) to identify particular patterns of family and occupational trajectories during middle to late adulthood and 2) to show how these are associated with retirement timing in different national contexts. The study uses the retrospective data of the SHARELIFE survey from four European countries with contrasted welfare and gender regimes (Czech Republic, Italy, Sweden, and Switzerland). Preliminary results underline the ways in which gender intersects with educational and economic resources to produce an array of social exclusionary mechanisms in later life.

Temporary Employment and Work‐Family Balance in Australia

Inga Laß, Mark Wooden

University of Melbourne, Australia

In OECD comparisons, Australia stands out as a country with a particularly high share of temporary forms of employment, with one in three employees found in casual, fixed‐term or temporary agency work. While it is often believed that temporary employment, and especially casual work, provides workers with more flexibility to balance work and private commitments, convincing empirical evidence on this issue is still scarce. This paper investigates the impact of temporary forms of employment on work‐family balance, using longitudinal data from the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) Survey for the period 2001 to 2017. Specifically, we look at two different outcomes: (i) satisfaction with the flexibility to combine work and non‐work commitments, and (ii) work-family conflict among parents. We compare results from pooled cross‐sectional, random‐effects and fixed‐effects regressions. The bivariate analysis shows, for example, that casual workers are significantly more satisfied with their flexibility to balance work and non‐work commitments than workers on permanent contracts. However, the effect reverses when worker and job characteristics, most importantly working hours, are controlled for. This result suggests that it is the close link of casual employment to part‐time working hours, but not the casual contract type per se, that benefits work‐family balance.

“Icts And Professional Work: Activities And Perspectives Of Portuguese And Italian Women Who Live As A Couple And Have Children”

Silvia Di Giuseppe

University of Lisbon (Institute of Social Sciences), Portugal

The PhD project “Being online and offline: practices and representations of Portuguese and Italian women in the digital society” is a study on the daily lives of women in the digital society, in two southern European countries (Portugal and Italy). Specifically, the study is based on the representations and practices, in different domains of activity (professional, domestic and leisure) of employed women aged 25 to 49 of different professional groups and levels of education, who live as a couple and have children.

The aim of the study is to determine how the new ICTs integrate into the daily lives of women, how they access, use and appropriate of ICTs in their activities, what meaning they attribute to them and how they combine them online and offline.

How do women access and appropriate of new ICTs in their professional work? What meanings do they attribute to them? How do these practices facilitate the public-private life? Departing from semi-structured interviews to 44 Portuguese and Italian women, in our presentation we discuss the results of the content analysis regarding their access and uses of the new ICTs in professional work and their perspectives on the impacts they have in public-private life.

When the Career Window Closes at 40: Exploring the Intersection of Gender, Age and Family Building in the Business Sector.

Sigtona Halrynjo1, Mary Blair-Loy2

1Institute for Social Research, Norway; 2University of California, San Diego

Liberalization has increased the precarity of employment and shifted risk from broader institutions to individuals. In the past 40 years, this individualized competition has become more international and more intense. Liberalization’s impact on families varies by social class. Our research focuses on business elites. We draw on 38 qualitative interviews with executive search professionals in Norway and the U.S. as expert informants on the ways in which gender and family impacts careers and promotability. We find that to be viewed as promotable to the highest levels, managers need experience from operational positions. These jobs demand the longest hours and the most travel and thus risk increasing work-family conflict. Further, to cope with the uncertainty of future business needs, “high potentials” are getting younger. Companies want to recruit “young, dynamic and tech-savvy high potentials”, which means that the “career window is closing by age 40”. The ability to advance fast and gain exposure to new and challenging positions throughout one’s 30s is seen as signaling quality and devotion. However, the paradigm of “careers are built before 40” conflicts with “family building phase” and the career advice often given to new mothers: Stay in the job you know to maintain productivity without a time-consuming learning curve during pregnancy, parental leave and the toddle phase. Mothers who follow this advice to achieve some work-family balance, risk to be outdistanced and suddenly “too old to build a career”, as colleagues without child rearing duties move up the career ladders. We discuss the unintended career consequences of the intersection of gender, age and family building within the current paradigm of the business sector – and possible solutions for change.