Women’s Late Careers in Europe and the USA—Employment Chances and Transitions Between Care-Giving and Retirement

Research question/goal: 

The project analyses employment chances, labour market sequences and transitions between work, family care, and retirement of women in the late career stage (i.e. aged between 50 and 70) in  international comparison. During the last decades, a sharp increase in employment rates of older women can be observed in almost all industrialised societies. However, research on women’s careers mainly concentrates on the reconciliation of work and family in mid-life, while detailed analyses on the late careers of women and respective gender differences are scarce. The project addresses this research gap and examines the interplay of individual, couple/family, workplace, and institutional factors in women’s late careers in Europe and the USA. The fundamental research questions are what factors shape the employment behaviour of women in their late careers and how these factors produce inequality in employment chances and labour market transitions. The project will use international and national panel data and will combine sequence analysis of employment trajectories, event history analysis of specific career transitions, and multilevel analysis to examine micro-macro linkages.

Current stage: 

The subproject on couples’ linked life courses and gender inequality in pension income, funded by the Research Network on Pensions (FNA), was finalised in 2020. Three manuscripts on project results are under review, including one methodological paper comparing the quality of life history information from survey data and administrative records. Currently, we are working on analyses of gender inequality in employment and care during the Corona pandemic using data of the German Internet Panel (GIP). In cooperation with the German Centre of Gerontology (DZA), we are planning a study on the wellbeing of family caregivers during the pandemic. Furthermore, we are continuing our collaboration with the Finnish Population Research Institute Väestöliitto to conduct a comparative analysis of couples’ careers in Germany and Finland.

Fact sheet

MZES and Research Network on Pensions (FNA)
2016 to 2021
Data Sources: 
International and national panel and life history data
Geographic Space: 
Europe, USA