Presentation on theme: "Womens economic activity: the impact of life-stage and qualifications Angela Dale and Sameera Ahmed University of Manchester We are grateful to the Leverhulme."— Presentation transcript:
Womens economic activity: the impact of life-stage and qualifications Angela Dale and Sameera Ahmed University of Manchester We are grateful to the Leverhulme Trust for funding this research – and this conference
Womens economic activity We usually only see the headline figures for different ethnic groups However, we know well that life-stage and level of qualifications have a big impact in womens employment – started by the Women and Employment Survey in 1980 But can we assume that patterns for white women are similar across different ethnic groups?
Data & definitions Labour Force Survey for 1992-2003/5 Women aged 19-60; FT students excluded Economic activity= in work + ILO unemployed Unemployment = not working, looking for work and able to start Focus on Pakistani and Bangladeshi women but also some information on White, Black Caribbean, Indian and Chinese women
Level of economic activity, women aged 19-60, 2001-5
Economic activity, women aged 19-34, no child, no partner, 1992-2003
Economic activity, women with partner and youngest child <5, 1992-2003
Pakistani and Bangladeshi women much greater variation based on level of qualifications and life-stage than other ethnic groups: effect of being born & brought up overseas? preferences for caring for children? family constraints barriers in the labour market?
Born/brought up UK v came UK 16+ Single, 19-34, no children, no partner degree quals:86% UK born/brought up no quals:60% UK born/brought up level of economic activity does not vary by where born Married with youngest child under 5 Degree quals: 71% UK born/brought up UK B/BO/seas B&B Econ act:61%39% No quals: 21% UK born/brought up UK B/BO/seas B&B Econ. Act.11%5%
Increase in educational attainment UK born/brought up Pakistani and Bangladeshi women with degree-level qualifications: aged 21-3420.5 aged 35-4917.1 Compares with white women: aged 21-3424.6 aged 35-4923.7 LFS: 1992-2005
Percentage of women unemployed (base: economically active, 20-59), 2001 Census, 3% sample, raw figures
Over-employment Pakistani and Bangladeshi women with degree-level qualifications: –36% employed but not in graduate jobs –25% for white women Difficult to make like-for-like comparisons But interviews provided evidence of difficulties graduates faced in getting graduate level jobs
Interviews with UK born Pakistani and Bangladeshi women Interviews with 18 UK-born Pakistani and Bangladeshi women in Rochdale and Manchester Asked about employment aspirations and barriers to employment Major themes: –Importance of educational attainment –Qualifications and experience vital for employment
Aspirations paid work played a significant role in all respondents ambitions in life –But some women wanted to work rather than needed to work Overall – I think…its not really important – its not like I have to work. Its just that I want to. Its one of those things that Ive always wanted to do. I never wanted to work full-time in the first place, just part-time work. …I think it boosts my confidence. Pakistani, 28, NVQ2, married with two children
Parental roles Parents were generally supportive of womens ambitions to work –But also willing to provide financial support –Lack of parental pressure meant women could wait to get the right job Some parents with poor health expected daughters to provide care for them
Role of husband/ children Many respondents said husbands very supportive & encouraged them working But child-care often posed problems –Women relied on family members –Availability of affordable child-care not always an issue
Finding the right job Lack of experience cited by many women Lack of knowledge about how the labour market works –availability jobs and training schemes; – guidance on how to apply for jobs –confidence about procedures once in employment
Barriers Work-place cultural assumptions often centred around the white majority –hard for women from a different cultural background to feel comfortable and to fit-in employers needed a better understanding of religious or cultural needs –eg replacing tea-breaks with prayer breaks –Family weddings, funerals posed some problems Wearing hijab or veil was seen as major barrier
Role of training schemes locally-based Intermediate Labour Market (ILM) schemes provided transitional employment for unemployed people –Help in gaining the skills and experience –access to individual support –counselling service –one-to-one job search skills development –aimed at minority ethnic groups
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