Sunday 20 October 2019

Most women on 'home duties' have no interest in looking for paid job

Sonya Lennon at the launch of the report by Solas
Sonya Lennon at the launch of the report by Solas

More than two-thirds of women who work in the home and have a third level education do not want to return to a paid job, according to a new survey.

In research conducted by Solas on 218,000 women on "home duties", not participating in the labour force and aged between 20 and 64, the majority - regardless of their education level - said they did not wish to return to work.

Solas is the further education and training authority set up by the Department of Education and Skills in 2013.

The survey found that 122,500 women on "home duties" have a Leaving Cert or less. Another 31,700 have further educational training, and 57,500 have third level education.

According to the data, there are 10,200 or 8pc of women with a Leaving Cert or lower qualification who are available for work but are not seeking a job right now or are seeking one but are not available immediately.

Some 18,000 of the 122,500 women (15pc) who are on "home duties" and have attained at least a Leaving Cert qualification do want a job, but are not available as they are looking after children or for other personal/family reasons.

There are 90,800 or 74pc within this group who do not want a job, the survey says.

Meanwhile, some 6,600 or 11pc of the 57,500 women with a third level education are available for work but are not seeking it; some 11,200 (19pc) want a job but can't work as they are caring for others or for personal reasons, and 38,900 (68pc) do not want a job, the survey says.

Some 47pc of women with third level qualifications have children aged five or younger, compared with 25pc for women with upper secondary education or less.

Three-quarters of the women surveyed with third level qualifications have a partner in full-time employment.


Of the women with upper secondary education or less, 48pc have a partner in full-time employment, while 38pc are either lone parents or have a partner who is also inactive in the labour market.

Breaking down the age profile of women surveyed, those with secondary education or less were: 20 to 24 years old 19pc, 35-44 25pc and 45-64 56pc. The figures for third level were: 20-24 21pc, 35-44 41pc, and 45-64 37pc.

Ultimately, there are over 16,000 women who are classified as "untapped potential", according to Solas, and could be attracted to joining the workforce.

The right conditions such as childcare, flexible working hours and taxation could be of help, according to researcher Joan McNaboe.

Sonya Lennon, founder of Dress for Success, was also on hand at the launch of the research at the Alex Hotel in Dublin.

She described the findings as a "punch in the gut" but agreed that the right conditions may attract women to work.

"It's all the old chestnuts, remote working, better access to childcare, that we know are holding women back," she said.

"When we look at the two big cohorts who could be in the workforce and are not, one of them is definitely the result of socio-economic issues and endemic unemployment.

"That is not going to need the same solution as the group of highly educated women who have fallen out of sustainable employment."

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