Thursday, 9 July 2009

demographic imbalances

i thought this press release from the equal employment opportunities trust was of interest:

A new analysis of the age and gender profiles of more than 30 professions shows skews in various fields – which could pose problems in future.

The Equal Employment Opportunities Trust (EEO Trust) analysis of 1991-2006 Census data shows that professions currently dominated by older men and younger women – such as law, medicine, veterinary medicine and planning – are likely to experience a double blow over the next decade. As large numbers of older workers approach the traditional retirement years, some younger women may leave to have children.

the EEO trust singles out medicine, law and accountancy in its press release. it highlights the fact that both older males and younger women are more likely to want "more flexible options" to the current 50-60 hour working week, "such as working from home, part-time work and flexible start and finishing times." given the way the demographics lie, both of these groups will want these options at the same time.

depending on what the unemployment figures are doing, this could be a good thing in that there would be more jobs available. in terms of fairness and a balanced life, it would be an excellent thing that employers get only one person's worth of work out of one person's salary. on the downside, it is likely to mean lower wages because of the increased overhead costs involved in having more staff.

dr reed of the EEO goes on to say:

“These types of [flexible] options are not just for women. They support anyone with caring responsibilities, including the increasing numbers of fathers who want to be more involved in childcare. “They also support older people as they move towards retirement, and may help keep older people in the workforce for longer.”

the research is aimed primarily at employers, to alert them to issues they need to be planning for. i'm sort of hoping that along with the demographic changes, there will be social and cultural changes, particularly in the area of unpaid work, that makes things a little easier for everyone.

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