Social Indicators Research

, Volume 139, Issue 3, pp 1065–1084 | Cite as

Women’s Job Quality Across Family Life Stages: An Analysis of Female Employees Across 27 European Countries

  • Agnieszka PiasnaEmail author
  • Anke Plagnol


There is little empirical evidence on how working conditions affect women’s employment and fertility choices, despite a number of studies on the impact of individual-level and institutional factors. The article addresses this gap by examining how family life stages are related to particular aspects of job quality among employed women in 27 European countries. The central argument of the analysis is that high-quality jobs are conducive to both transitions to motherhood and employment after childbirth as women select into these roles. Accordingly, mothers of young children, if employed, are expected to have relatively better quality jobs. Four dimensions of job quality are considered: job security, career progression, working time and intrinsic job quality. The results indicate that mothers with young children are more likely to hold high-quality jobs than women at other life stages with respect to working time quality and job security, but with some variation across countries for job security. The findings highlight the importance of high-quality jobs for women’s fertility decisions and labour market attachment after childbirth, with implications for European employment policy.


Job quality Gender Maternal employment Life course analysis International comparisons 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.European Trade Union InstituteBrusselsBelgium
  2. 2.City, University of LondonLondonUK

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