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
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Publisher's URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/02610151011028868
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.
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