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Do women "not needing to work" but happily taking low paid term time jobs affect women's pay

(52 Posts)
kim147 Sun 16-Jun-13 23:12:41

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Startail Sun 16-Jun-13 23:40:23

I think there are other rewards to money.

I suspect many of the mum's and at least one dad (and probably others on the quiet) trade money for quality of life.

Living in a MC commuter area, I know some and suspect far more, of the mums are graduates doing jobs way below what they trained for.

Yes local business are getting well qualified staff on the cheap, but I suspect many of them honestly couldn't afford to pay the going rate a city firm could.

The overheads in travel and child care mean for many a better paid job doesn't leave them better off and a big impersonal firm looses them the flexibility to come to school events and start/finish in time to do the school run.

MalenkyRusskyDrakonchik Mon 17-Jun-13 10:09:36

I think this is simply about devaluing childcare, TBH. They may not need the pay but they need the flexibility for childcare. Therefore childcare plus TAing is devalued.

badguider Mon 17-Jun-13 10:21:34

I work in culture and heritage - where a huge number of the workforce are qualified with more than one degree, often to phd level in their specialism and yet work for not a whole lot more than the NMW and usually less than the UK average wage.

So, overqualified people of either sex doing jobs they are underpaid for is a BIG issue but I don't believe it's one to do with women alone or 'term-time' jobs alone.

Many people choose to struggle in low paid jobs for the love of them. IMO the issue is the over-inflation of pay in other sectors and ridiculous bonuses to the few that push up prices for the many.

Youhaventseenme Mon 17-Jun-13 10:25:34

I most definitely do not need to work, but I work two hours a day as a dinner lady, I do it for my mental well being.

schooldidi Mon 17-Jun-13 10:28:18

I agree with badguider, I have a lot of friends who are just as intelligent as me, have just as good qualifications as me, yet are struggling along in low paid jobs. Some have taken these low paid jobs since having children so they can have the flexibility for childcare, others just love the job they do even though it is undervalued.

My dp is one of these people, he has a very good degree that could get him a job that pays well, in fact he has just done a month's trial for a much better paid job but has gone back to the old low paid job because it is more flexible and the work is, to him, more interesting. I'm happy with that because it means he's at home more to take a bigger share of the childcare and housework.

EleanorHandbasket Mon 17-Jun-13 10:28:35

It's not just about not needing the money though, is it?

If I can take a 12k job that doesn;t need any childcare, I'm going to be better off than if I take a £20k job and have to pay 12k a year for a childminder/nursery.

Startail Mon 17-Jun-13 11:01:45

Here your talking £4-5000 pa for a school schoaged DC, but also £5-10 a day extra for petrol, parking, lunch etc. plus smart clothes.

Startail Mon 17-Jun-13 11:04:14

sorry wrong button.
That's another £1-2000.

ok.I might save £100 or so in oil truning the heating off and I use some petrol running about finding things to stay sane, but working doesnt come cheap.

Startail Mon 17-Jun-13 11:05:15

sorry Kindle spell checking has died blush

NeverQuiteSure Mon 17-Jun-13 11:14:37

Interesting thread. I haven't worked for the last 2 years but, when my youngest starts at state funded nursery in September, will return to freelancing. The only way I can guarantee work in an increasingly competitive market is to cut my fees to account for the savings I'll be making by not paying for childcare.

I do worry that I'll be working for less than I'm 'worth' though and may be stuck working for this sum even after I no longer need childcare.

I need to work both financially and for my own fulfilment though and, given the current competition in my field and the fact my contacts are somewhat outdated, I see no other option.

nerofiend Mon 17-Jun-13 15:54:55

I think these jobs are devalued because they're done and needed by women, not because they're lesser jobs in themselves.

Men are very good at protecting what they're good at, say plumbing, builders and decorators etc etc. These jobs are not done by highly academic people, but they're done by men who can obviuosly work full time or long hours as they don't consider childcare their main responsibility in life. So having a family will not affect the amount of hours they can devote to the job.

Women are not to blame that these jobs are badly paid. It's society, the macho culture that devalues everything that a woman is good at, and therefore pays them less.

MalenkyRusskyDrakonchik Mon 17-Jun-13 16:10:21

nero - absolutely agree.

Although, I do think there is a class issue here that needs acknowledging. The three jobs you mention as non-academic and typically male jobs are quite well paid it's true, but what about binmen etc.? There are 'male' jobs that are also really difficult to make a living from, because class comes into it as well as gender.

cogitosum Wed 19-Jun-13 10:44:30

I don't think binmen are actually badly paid. I think median is around £25,000 and mean £36,000. I know that was only one example but actually it's hard to think of a traditionally 'male' job that is badly paid like the traditionally 'female' jobs like childcare, TAs etc.

thecatfromjapan Wed 19-Jun-13 14:06:44

I completely agree with what Eleanor said.

kim147, I'm sure you didn't mean to, but I think that the way you've phrased the thread title is sailing close to the wind of being quite ... dodgy.

I'm old enough to remember articles in newspapers in which men argued that women shouldn't be allowed into certain trades because they were only working for "pin money" and would lower the rates of pay for men - who were working to earn money for the family. [hmmm]

That was all prior to the Sex Discrimination Act of 1975. But that really was a very respectable discourse and it was used to exclude women from areas of paid work AS WELL AS to justify women being corralled in areas of low pay/no pay.

I honestly think Eleanor has it. And the issue is actually one of (I used this phrase just a minute ago - it must be a day for it) Structural Discrimination.

It goes like this: you are the person who has primary responsibility for the children. You probably earn a little less than your (male) partner when you have those children. Childcare costs a lot, so you - the smidgeon less well-paid partner, or the partner who will compromise - compromise and fiddle around with your job to come to some arrangement whereby you are squaring the childcare costs-working-eating-living circle. The gap between the two partners' pay increases. Amazingly!! things don't get easier when the children get into school - they get harder.

Next thing you know, you have a very good degree, a whole load of other qualifications, and you are pleading to be considered for a £7,000 p.a. job that lists an NVQ as its main qualification. But the competition is fierce because ... there are lots of women in that position.

the real question is: what they hell is going on that we are doing this to our women/children/etc.? Why on earth can't we share out the jobs that exist (and their wages) a little more equitably?

thecatfromjapan Wed 19-Jun-13 14:08:14

... and i agree with nero. isn't there some kind of research that demonstrates that - in terms of professions/jobs - prestige and wages will decrease in proportion to the numbers of women taking those jobs up?

kim147 Wed 19-Jun-13 17:13:49

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

learnasyougo Wed 19-Jun-13 17:26:26

I live in Brighton and although it's an expensive part of the UK to live, the wages for all manner of jobs are below the national average (jobs such as retail managers, so not just jobs that tend to be taken by women). This is because many people have a partner who works in London (so they can afford the Brighton property costs) and then a partner who wants to work locally. It's gold dust to have a job in Brighton (especially term time only) so people will accept lower pay (since they are subsidised by the London-working partner anyway) in order to be 'lucky' enough to live in Brighton.

So yes, if you have enough people who value a job for other things than its salary (location, hours, flexibility) then wages are driven down. I don't think it is just because it's work associated with women (although historically the 'family wage' that men were expected to earn did mean women didn't rely on their wages to keep the wolf from the door. Those days are long gone and yet attitudes persist).

TheYamiOfYawn Wed 19-Jun-13 20:25:57

Before I had children (7 years ago) I worked in a job in a bookshop that paid £6.15 per hour. I have a first class degree and several postgraduate professional qualifications. Most of my colleagues (many a rung below me on the ladder, and so on worse pay) had more than one degree. The woman who shelved the books in the religion section had a PhD in theology. The guy selling DVDs had a masters in film studies, the guy in the art section had a masters in art and so on. It's not unusual - your local independent cinema will be staffed by film graduates, the guy who takes your money at the museum probably had a masters in history or curating, the waitress at your cafe is fitting her hours around her PhD, the receptionist at the hotel is fitting the hours around her kids and the guy behind the bar in the pub is earning enough money to pay the bills until his publishing business takes off or his inventions go into production. It's not unusual in the slightest for very well qualified people to work for very low pay.

Snog Wed 19-Jun-13 20:35:20

All women need to work - some just don't know it!
Women are absolutely not to blame for low wages - I find this beyond ridiculous and woman bashing

intheshed Wed 19-Jun-13 20:56:29

The only reason these women don't "need to work" in most cases is because they have a husband or partner who earns more than them. Are you suggesting that women should not bother to carry on working once they have children if their husbands earn enough to support the family? It all sounds very 1950s.

I am a TA and I guess we don't "need" the money- in that if DH lost his job we would be on the streets, whereas if I lost my job we would just have to tighten our belts a little. But I work for so much more than the lousy pay I get- I enjoy the work, it is fulfilling and I like to think I make a difference. It also allows me to spend time with my children in the holidays, which I very much enjoy. What is wrong with that?

On a separate note I do think the TA profession and jobs in childcare in general are underpaid and undervalued in society.

kim147 Wed 19-Jun-13 21:31:22

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

scallopsrgreat Wed 19-Jun-13 21:40:53

I agree with the others I am afraid Kim - the title of the thread is women blaming which is why I haven't commented on it so far.

I am not sure why you are looking at this singling out women who don't "need" to work. Plenty of men don't need to work and they distort the market far more.

kim147 Wed 19-Jun-13 21:45:20

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

MalenkyRusskyDrakonchik Wed 19-Jun-13 21:47:25

cogito - huh. Wow. I picked that out of thin air, so ouch.

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