Flexible Working and the Gender Pay Gap in the Accountancy Profession

The University of Manchester, Manchester, England, United Kingdom
Work Employment & Society (Impact Factor: 1.24). 03/2004; 18(1):115-135.. DOI: 10.1177/0950017004040765


The relationship between flexible working arrangements and the gender pay gap
is explored in this article, based on a study of flexible working arrangements
among Chartered Accountants in Britain. Individual interviews with 50 participants
provided details on working patterns, flexibility policies and practices, and experiences
of flexible working.The article considers whether gender-neutral discourses
of flexible working succeed in encouraging more men and non-parents to use
flexible working arrangements, thereby potentially reducing the gender pay gap.
The study highlighted gendered patterns of take-up of flexible working.Women
who worked flexibly or part time typically did so to combine working with caring
commitments, in ways that damaged their career prospects. In contrast, men typically
deferred working flexibly to a later stage when their career had progressed
further. There was therefore a clear impact on current and future salary for
women taking up flexible working arrangements, which was not equivalent for the
men who did so. In this context, the promotion of flexible working arrangements
is reinforcing the gender pay gap.


Available from: Janet Smithson
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    • "Mothers tend to arrange their schedules around caring, while fathers conform more closely to the standard workday. Moreover, women tend to have their careers damaged (Smithson et al., 2004). The flexibility offered by non-standard working hours does not help parents balance work and care more equally (Craig and Powell, 2011). "
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    ABSTRACT: Research on work-family balance has seen flexible work arrangements as a key solution for reconciling work and family, but it has given contradictory results in regard to fathers. This article focuses on flexible parental leave for fathers in Norway, which until now has rarely been studied. Based on interviews with 20 fathers, the article explores their experiences with flexible organization of the leave, which provides them with a menu of choices, and considers how it affects their caring. Findings show that it allows work to invade care, produces a double stress and promotes halfway fathering. Flexible use of the father's quota tends to confirm fathers as secondary carers instead of empowering them as carers.
    Work Employment & Society 07/2015; DOI:10.1177/0950017015590749 · 1.24 Impact Factor
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    • "Managerial and professional jobs are traditionally 'boundless', defined not by a number of hours but by doing whatever it takes to get the job done (Kalleberg and Epstein, 2001). The belief that the essential 'nature' of the work precludes shorter hours and flexible working is confirmed in studies of professions such as civil engineering (Watts, 2009), management consulting (Donnelly, 2006; Merilainen et al., 2004; Perlow and Porter, 2009), accounting (Smithson et al., 2004), law (Epstein et al., 1999), the police (Dick and Cassell, 2004) and information technology (IT) (Meiksins and Whalley, 2002). Particular work characteristics are identified as limiting opportunities for reducing work: fast pace, short deadlines, unpredictability, availability to clients, interdependent tasks and interaction with colleagues (Briscoe, 2007; Donnelly, 2006; Kossek and Lee, 2005; Lee et al., 2002; Meiksins and Whalley, 2002; Perlow and Porter, 2009). "
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    ABSTRACT: This review sets extreme jobs in the context of the institutional, occupational, organizational and individual drivers of long hours and work intensification and identifies the consequences for gender equality, human sustainability and long-term productivity. We suggest that extreme jobs derive not from the ‘nature’ of managerial and professional work but from working practices and occupational discourses which have developed to suit the gendered norms of ‘ideal workers’. These practices and discourses encourage long hours rather than working-hours choices. Extreme jobs extend the gendered division of labour and increase the separation of work and non-work spheres; they are a structure of gender inequality. This review suggests that future research should seek to identify alternative but business-neutral working practices which contest the extreme ‘nature’ of managerial and professional work, measure the social value of non-work activities and deepen our understanding of the personal and social significance of non-work identities other than motherhood, and disentangle situational motivation, work passion and workaholism as motives for devoting long hours to work so that impacts on well-being and productivity can be more clearly understood.
    Organization 07/2015; 22(4):457-475. DOI:10.1177/1350508415572511 · 2.35 Impact Factor
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    • "The resulting data has been subject to thematic analysis in order to identify recurring themes which emerge from the data itself. This is similar to approaches adopted in previous qualitative studies of the working lives of professionals (Smithson et al., 2004). "

    AIRAANZ, Athens, Greece; 06/2013
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