LONDON (AFP) — Female professionals who wish to continue their career while raising a family often have to resort to lowly part-time jobs where their talents and qualifications are wasted, a wide-ranging study said Wednesday.
The first major study on the impact motherhood on careers found that "a third of female corporate managers slid down the career ladder after having a baby. Two-thirds of that number took clerical positions and moved into lower skill jobs", The Guardian said.
Researchers at Oxford University and the University of East Anglia found that women working in shops, salons and restaurants were more affected by this so-called "hidden brain drain" than teachers or nurses.
Mary Gregory -- an economist at Oxford University and co-author of the report -- was quoted by The Guardian as saying: "This loss of career status with part-time work is a stark failure among otherwise encouraging trends for women's advancement.
"Girls and young women are outperforming males at all educational levels. They are moving into an expanding range of occupations, and building successful careers. The gender pay gap is narrowing.
"But for many all this comes to an abrupt halt when childcare claims part of the working week ," she said.
The report questions the effectiveness of part-time work as a solution for creating a good work-life balance for mothers.
According to the researchers, working mothers could best avoid downgrading if their current employer was willing to reduce their hours.
"The government should make flexible working a right for parents of young children unless an employer could prove a case against", said Gregory.
Some six million women in Britain are in part-time employment -- which is traditionally paid a lower hourly rate.
The findings of the working mothers study are based on the employment details of 70,000 random women as well as the data of 5,500 households providing women's employment details from 1991-2001.
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