Lack of family-friendly workplaces leading to loss of talent, says expert

Jul 05, 2010

(PhysOrg.com) -- Professional women in their 30s are opting out of full-time work at an alarmingly high rate.

Only 38 per cent of Generation X, tertiary qualified participating in a long-running University of Melbourne study work full-time, compared to 90 per cent of Generation X, tertiary qualified men.

The findings are among the latest to emerge from Life Patterns, Australia’s longest running study of the lives of young people.
Professor Johanna Wyn, Director of the Melbourne Graduate School of Education’s Youth Research Centre, leads the study. She says Australia’s lack of family-friendly workplace policies is to blame for the low participation rates of highly qualified women in the workforce.

“When we started this study in the early 90s, young women who had gained tertiary qualifications were the most likely of any social group to put the highest priority on gaining a position.

“If we fast-forward to 2010, the majority of these same women are no longer participating in the workforce. Indeed, full-time employment for women, 13 years after leaving secondary school, is inversely related to level of educational qualifications.

“We have a mis-match between educational and workplace policies. While our young women are encouraged to excel academically, when its time to start a family, there is very little support available from employers and more traditional attitudes to seem to prevail. So unfortunately, we find our workforce losing huge numbers of talented individuals.”

The study shows workplace policies have also taken their toll on the health of Generation X. Comparisons with a similar Canadian study show Australians report much higher levels of poor mental and physical health.

“The newly de-regulated workforce of the 90s meant young Australians were working longer hours with less . As a result, the majority were not able to establish long-term partnerships, marry and have children as early as their Canadian counterparts, leading to more stress and less support for the Australians,” explains Professor Wyn.

These latest findings are contained in the new book: The Making of a Generation: the children of the 1970s in adulthood, written by Professor Wyn and Professor Lesley Andres from the University of British Columbia.

Explore further: Sex marks the spot – treasure trove of images reveal life in 1960s red light district

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Gender roles and not gender bias hold back women scientists

Nov 19, 2007

Traditional roles of women in the home and a negative bias in workplace support result in less career success for women versus men at the same stage of their research careers, determined researchers at the European Molecular ...

Working through the menopause

Oct 14, 2008

Some women sail through it, others find it a challenge but few women like to talk openly about the menopause.

Gender equality on the slide?

Aug 06, 2008

(PhysOrg.com) -- Cambridge University study suggests growing numbers of people are concerned about working mums' impact on family life.

Study examines working couple's retirement patterns

Nov 18, 2008

When retiring, men are more likely than women to move directly from work to retirement, but overall the retirement patterns for dual-income married couples are complex and call for additional considerations in planning for ...

Recommended for you

Strong neighborhood ties can help reduce gun violence

1 hour ago

The bonds that tie a neighborhood together can help shield community members from gun violence, according to new findings by Yale School of Medicine researchers in the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Clinical ...

Why are UK teenagers skipping school?

Dec 18, 2014

Analysis of the results of a large-scale survey reveals the extent of truancy in English secondary schools and sheds light on the mental health of the country's teens.

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.