Interesting take by the Chartered Institute for Personnel and Development on their (brief) Work Audit report Age, Gender and the Jobs Recession which was released yesterday.

According to the analysis there are now 8 per cent more women between the ages of 50 and 64 in the labour market and 6.2 per cent more in the same category actually in work. This is gratingly referred to as the ‘Madonna generation’, presumably to allow a glamorous photo on the CIPD’s website and generate media interest. This is accompanied by the press release: MADONNA GENERATION OF WOMEN AGED OVER 50 DEFY JOBS RECESSION.

But do they? If there are 8 per cent more of these women in the labour market but only 6.2 per cent more in employment. The answer of course is no. As the report states:

The number of unemployed women has also increased substantially, by almost half a million, to reach a record level of 1.12 million, although this is not primarily due to fewer jobs for women but instead to a relatively large rise of 438,000 in the number of women participating in the labour market. [Bold added]

The large increases are surely more related to ‘reforms’ (read ‘attacks’) of welfare, unemployment within families and dwindling pensions, pushing  ever more people into looking for work that is already scarce. Good news for employers.

Seen in this light perhaps the celebrations can be put on hold.


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