This chapter advances understanding of men’s use of part-time work and the quality of the part-time work they encounter. Using UK data from wave 4 (2012–2013) of Understanding Society, plus extracts from WERS 2011, analysis is conducted to consider the association between part-time work and job quality measures, and wider measures of subjective well-being, notably men’s satisfaction with leisure time and life overall. We find that men working part-time appear to fall into one of three clusters—older men who often report good jobs, high satisfaction, and pay; men (average age of 40), constrained by a complex array of personal, familial, and labour market factors into working in low-quality part-time jobs; and young men who work short hours in low-skilled occupations, receive poor pay, yet do not appear as dissatisfied. These findings demonstrate that men work part-time for a variety of both voluntary and involuntary reasons, not restricted to the career-start and career-end strategies most commonly depicted. In analysing and exposing men’s uptake of part-time work, we reveal certain patterns of disadvantage within male employment that are largely hidden from the mainstream, shrouded by the myth that men, as a group, occupy privileged positions in the labour market. For a proportion of men, part-time work is an unsatisfactory arrangement, borne from not being able to secure full-time work. The insight the chapter offers is likely to be of interest to organisations seeking to recruit and retain part-time workers, especially those operating in sectors where part-time working is an embedded work pattern or a growing phenomenon. The findings support calls for improved quality of part-time jobs for both men and women.
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The Flexible Working (Procedural Requirements) Regulations, SI 2002/3207, and Flexible Working (Eligibility, Complaints and Remedies) SI 2002/3236 are amendments to the Employment Act 2002, s47, consolidated in the Employment Rights Act 1996, ss80F–80I.
Wave 4 (2012–13) of Understanding Society is used as the most recently available dataset at the time the research was conducted, wave 5 (2013–14), did not include the module containing questions on the quality of work including levels of autonomy.
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Thompson, A., Wheatley, D. (2019). The Take-Up and Quality of Part-Time Work Among Men. In: Nachmias, S., Caven, V. (eds) Inequality and Organizational Practice. Palgrave Explorations in Workplace Stigma. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-11647-7_6
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