How men can pay a high price for taking a part-time job

June 02, 2016 09:24
Employers don’t seem to see a part-time job as a barrier to hiring women, research has found, but for men seeking work, having a part-time job on their résumé isn't much better than being unemployed. Photo: internet

For unemployed men, taking a part-time job may be nearly as damaging to their future career prospects as simply staying home, The Wall Street Journal reports, citing a recent study.

David Pedulla, a sociologist at the University of Texas at Austin, sent out thousands of fake résumés to test how gender and work history affected callbacks by potential employers looking to interview the job candidates.

He found that women in part-time jobs were more than twice as likely to get a callback as were men in part-time jobs.

In fact, part-time male workers fared only a little better than unemployed men.

When it comes to part-time work, there appear to be “penalties for men that are as strong as the penalty for unemployment, while for women we see no penalty”, Pedulla said.

An estimated one in six US workers lost a job during the recession years of 2007, 2008 and 2009, and unemployment remained stubbornly high even years into the economic recovery.

A growing body of research indicates that the financial and psychological damage from a period of joblessness can be significant and long-lasting, especially for people who remain out of work for an extended period.

In Pedulla’s research, published this spring in the American Sociological Review, 2,420 applications were submitted for 1,210 job openings in five US cities between November 2012 and June 2013.

The résumés described male and female job candidates who had graduated from large public universities in the US Midwest and had similar work histories until 12 months earlier.

At that point, they were assigned to one of five situations: a full-time job, a part-time job, a job through a temporary employment agency, a job below their skill level (a sales associate at a retail store), or unemployment.

Among men and women with a full-time job, 10.4 percent got a callback from a potential employer.

Workers in the low-skill job saw much lower callback rates: 4.7 percent for men and 5.2 percent for women.

“For both male and female workers, taking a job below their skill level really results in severe penalties in terms of the job opportunities that are available to them,” Pedulla said.

Temp work, on the other hand, generated a 7.1 percent callback rate for men – the highest in the study apart from a full-time job -- and an 8.3 percent callback rate for women.

Employers didn’t seem to see a part-time job as a barrier to hiring women, with a callback rate of 10.9 percent.

But for men, a part-time job translated into a 4.8 percent callback rate – little better than the 4.2 percent callback rate for unemployed men (unemployed women had a callback rate of 7.5 percent).

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