Increasing number of women ‘dissatisfied' with jobs

The number of women who are satisfied with their jobs has been falling for 15 years, new research has claimed.

The research, conducted by a team at the University of Bath for the Economic and Social Research Council, found that female workers, who used to have significantly higher levels of job satisfaction than men, now had around the same level as their male counterparts.

Researchers suggest that the results might be a sign that women are being subjected to more pressure in the workplace, as they compete with men for ‘top jobs’.

Some commentators have suggested that women in such jobs tend to feel increasingly stressed at work, which can lead to a serious drop in general well being.

However, Professor Michael Rose from the University of Bath, who led the research, does not believe that to be the case. He said: “There’s no sign of a general fall in psychological well-being among women employees since 1990. We have excellent data there and they show absolutely no change over the period. In fact, our special measures of general happiness show a slight upward trend. Being unhappy at work just isn’t the same as being generally unhappy. You can be dissatisfied with a job without being an unhappy person.”

The researchers also found that satisfaction among part-time female workers has fallen more dramatically than among the full-time employees. Professor Rose said that this contradicted claims that part-time female workers were once regarded as ‘grateful slaves’ who were happy to take low-grade jobs in order to make ‘pin money’.

“If women part-timers ever had such attitudes they certainly don’t have them now,” Professor Rose said. “And you can forget the ‘pin money’ tag. OK, these are not career builders like many of the women full-timers. But more and more see themselves as sharing the role of breadwinner, helping to pay the grocery bill and – increasingly for the younger ones – the mortgage. They’re more critical of their jobs because they share the provider role.”

The research, which was based on data from around 25,000 British women employees, was presented at the Social Policy Association Annual Conference at the University of Bath.


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