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 survey issued today.
In research conducted by SOLAS on 218,000 women on ‘home duties’, not participating in the labour force and aged between 20 – 64, the majority of women – regardless of their education level – said they did not wish to return to the labour force.
Solas is the further education and training authority in Ireland, an agency of the Dept of Education and Skills, set up in 2013.
The survey found that some 122,500 women on ‘home duties’ have a Leaving Cert or less. Another 31,700 have further educational training, and some 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 work right now or are seeking work but are not available immediately.
Some 18,000 of the 122,500 (15pc) women women who are on ‘home duties’ and have attained a Leaving Cert qualification at least, 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 grout 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, 19pc or 11,200 want a job but can’t work as they are caring for others or for personal reasons, and 68pc or 38,900 women do not want a job, the survey says.
Some 47pc of women with third-level qualifications have children aged five or younger, compared to 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: 19pc 20-24 years old, 25pc 35-44, and 56pc was 45-64. With third level were: 21pc 20-24, 41pc 35-44, and 37pc 45-64.
Ultimately, there are over 16,000 women who are classified as “untapped potential” according to Solas and could be attracted to joining the workforce.
As for attracting these women to 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 in the Alex hotel today.
She described the findings as a “punch in the gut” but agreed with Ms McNaboe that the right conditions may attract women to work.
“It’s all the old chestnuts, remote working, better access to childcare, all the nuggets that we know are holding women back,” she said.
“They don’t want to work because work doesn’t work for them rather than they don’t want to be economically independent.”
“When we look at the two big cohorts who could be in the work force 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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