The impact of partnership and family-building on the early careers of female graduates in the UK

Wilton, N. and Pucell, K. (2010) The impact of partnership and family-building on the early careers of female graduates in the UK. Equality, Diversity and Inclusion, 29 (3). pp. 271-288. ISSN 2040-7149 Available from:

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Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to outline the impact of partnership and family-building on the aspirations, expectations and orientations to work of a sample of highly qualified women working across a range of industry sectors. Design/methodology/approach – This paper draws on both qualitative and quantitative data collected in a longitudinal study of the early careers of UK graduates, incorporating both a large-scale questionnaire survey and detailed interviews with a sample of respondents. Findings – This paper highlights the persistence of gender asymmetries in both employment and domestic partnership and shows the complex decision-making process which determines career prioritization among equally highly qualified partners. It also provides evidence of change in the values, priorities and orientations to work and the work-life balance of UK graduates as they progress through early career development. Practical implications – The extent to which highly qualified women use (and are sometimes precipitated by circumstances into using) the life stage associated with stable partnership formation and family-building to reassess values and priorities has implications for both policymakers and employers. In particular, employers need to take account of changing orientations in work and life stage in formulating effective recruitment and retention strategies for high-qualified workers. Originality/value – This paper provides new data on how dual-career partnerships negotiate the transition from, in career terms, single entities into dyads and the dynamics of gender role change and stability.

Item Type:Article
Uncontrolled Keywords:graduates, dual-career couples, gender, family roles, equal opportunities, United Kingdom
Faculty/Department:Faculty of Business and Law > Department of Business Management
ID Code:12496
Deposited By: Dr N. Wilton
Deposited On:04 Jan 2011 14:41
Last Modified:24 Jan 2017 21:30

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