When parents wish to reduce their work hours: Does sorting into occupations and work organizations explain gender differences in working-time adjustments?
Keywords:working-time arrangements, segregation, Germany, gender inequality
Objective: This study investigates whether sorting into occupations and work organizations contributes to gender differences in parents’ likelihood to reduce their working hours.
Background: While mothers reduce their work hours to reconcile their work and personal lives, fathers increasingly wish to reduce their hours but face obstacles to doing so. Mismatches between parents' desired and actual work hours prompt the question of whether fathers' realization of working-time reductions is constrained due to their sorting into more time-intensive occupations and/or work organizations.
Method: Cross-classified multilevel models were applied to German linked employer-employee data analyzing gender differences in parents' likelihood of reducing work hours. Including sorting indicators, the question of whether differences in full-time employed mothers' and fathers' working-time reductions were driven by sorting into different work contexts (occupations/work organizations) was explored.
Results: The results confirmed that full-time employed mothers are more likely to reduce their work hours than full-time employed fathers. While occupations play almost no role in determining working-time adjustments, work context does at least partly contribute to parents’ variation in working-time reductions. However, neither gendered sorting into occupations nor gendered sorting into work organizations explained gender differences in parents’ likelihood of scaling back their work hours.
Conclusion: It is concluded that gender differences in German parents' reduction of working hours rather respond to traditional gender norms than being influenced by the different occupations or work organizations mothers and fathers sort themselves into.