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The impact of organizational form on gendered labour markets in engineering and law


Hughes, CJ and Waters, M, The impact of organizational form on gendered labour markets in engineering and law, The Sociological Review, 46, (2) pp. 314-339. ISSN 0038-0261 (1998) [Refereed Article]

DOI: doi:10.1111/1467-954X.00121


It is well known that occupations are differentially gendered and explanations for such gendering usually focus on structure and process in the labour market. However little is known of the fine detail of the way in which labour markets perform for particular occupations in particular local contexts. This article is based on micro-sociological research on the professional labour markets for law and engineering professionals in the city of Hobart, Australia. It addresses a discrepancy in women's participation and promotion rates in each of these professions: the proportion of women in high positions in engineering matches their educational qualification rates while that in law is considerably lower than educational qualification rates would suggest. The paper proposes that the explanation can be found in the respective organizational patterns of the two professions. Engineering is practised in large-scale bureaucratic organizations where formal rules govern recruitment and promotion, where equal opportunities legislation literally applies, and where a strict separation is maintained between public and domestic spheres. By contrast, law is practised in collegial partnerships where informal judgements govern recruitment and promotion, where the letter of equal opportunities legislation need not be applied, and where advancement depends on the subordination of the domestic to the public sphere.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Research Division:Human Society
Research Group:Sociology
Research Field:Sociology not elsewhere classified
Objective Division:Expanding Knowledge
Objective Group:Expanding knowledge
Objective Field:Expanding knowledge in human society
UTAS Author:Hughes, CJ (Dr Clarissa Hughes)
UTAS Author:Waters, M (Professor Malcolm Waters)
ID Code:13094
Year Published:1998
Web of Science® Times Cited:26
Deposited By:Sociology and Social Work
Deposited On:1998-08-01
Last Modified:2011-08-08

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