Eurofound: Changes during crisis have benefitted women

  
Nurses at work. United Kingdom, 2007. [Jo Guldi/Flickr]

The economic crisis has boosted growth in high-wage jobs. This has mainly benefited women, according to a study by Eurofound.  

While high-wage jobs have been in demand, middle-wage jobs have been destroyed in huge numbers. The sectors which were most severely shaken by the crisis, manufacturing and construction, have a concentration of jobs in the mid-paying range. 

These developments are benefiting women workers and narrowing the gender gap in employment, according to Eurofound's European Jobs Monitor 2014. From mid-2011 to mid-2013, women’s employment increased modestly by 60,000, while men's employment fell by nearly 1.4 million.

Eurofound also stated that while the manufacturing and construction sectors are heavily male-dominated, the sectors with most growth in employment, health and education, are primarily dominated by women, and tend to have jobs with higher hourly pay rates.

Only among the lowest-paying jobs has employment growth for men outpaced that of women. One reason could be that the men who were let go from manufacturing and construction jobs took up lower-paid service jobs in the food and beverage, construction and retail sectors.

Meanwhile, employment levels for women in the lowest-paid jobs fell due to job losses among cleaners and helpers working for private household employers.

Changes in part-time jobs

Though part-time jobs have previously been dominated by women, the crisis has seen a gender shift with male workers increasingly taking up these jobs. Over 60% of net new male part-time jobs in the lowest wage category were in typically female-dominated occupations, such as personal care workers, sales workers, cleaners and helpers. 

For women, new part-time employment tends to be in professional and managerial occupations, notably business and administration professionals, health professionals and commercial or administrative managers. These jobs mainly represent existing full-time jobs being converted to part-time ones, as well as newly created part-time jobs. 

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