← ESA 2015 homepage

Careers I


Fri 28. 8.  14:00 - 15:30
room FA 548

On Different Tracks? Work-Family Strategies and Early Career Attainments among Male and Female Professionals in Sweden


Grönlund, Anne
Umeå university, Sweden

The paper is based on a new survey directed to Swedish men and women that graduated from five higher educational programmes a few years ago (n≈2 200). Two research questions are investigated: 1. Do men and women with the same education have different work-family strategies, i. e, are men more career-oriented and women more family-oriented in their motivation for occupational and job choices and in their willingness to adapt work to family demands (e g by working part-time. 2. Do men and women with the same education differ in their early labour market attainments and if so, can such differences be explained by differences in work-family strategies? The study puts to test the assumption made in human capital theory (Becker 1985, 1991) that women make long-term strategies with future family responsibilites and work interruptions in mind and generally aim for ”family-friendly” work conditions. This assumption is commonly invoked to explain gender differences in e g wages and training. A sample comprising men and women with the same education in a context strongly promoting gender equality (Sweden) provides a strong test to the assumptions made in human capital theory. If gender differences in work-family strategies are found even in this sample, and if they explain labour market inequalities, Becker’s hypothesis can still be regarded as a valid mechanism