Occupational Standing over the Life Course: What Is the Role of Part Time Work?

  • Jenny Chalmers
Part of the Life Course Research and Social Policies book series (LCRS, volume 1)


Although part time employment allows women to meet their caring responsibilities and earn income from paid employment, it stalls careers. This chapter examines Australian women’s experiences of occupational change in relation to transitions between part time and full time employment using 4 waves of data from the Negotiating the Life Course project. It shows, consistent with the findings of recent United Kingdom studies, that careers are stalled by the need to move into lower ranked occupations to secure part time hours and family friendly work. Occupational down-grading is less likely to occur if a woman can reduce her hours of employment without changing employer. Women who return to full time employment after a period of part time employment can regain their former occupational standing, although the continued need for family-friendly employment is an impediment. People find it difficult to reduce their hours of employment and remain with the same employer, and even more difficult to reduce hours and stay in the same job. In 2010 Australia introduced a workplace procedure for employee requests to change working time arrangements for parents of children under school age or children under 18 with a disability. Although this is a step in the right direction, the findings of this chapter remind us that conversion to part time hours in a family unfriendly job may impede women’s careers.


Full Time Work Part Time Part Time Full Time Employment Part Time Employment 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht. 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.National Drug and Alcohol Research CentreUniversity of New South WalesSydneyAustralia

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