Working mothers more likely to be in part-time roles

New research shows the more children a man has, the less likely he’ll work part-time

Close to 40 per cent of Irish working mothers with two children are on part-time contracts, versus just 9 per cent of men, according to figures published by Eurostat, the European Union's official statistics body.

The data, which has been published ahead of International Women’s Day, shows that with or without children, women are more likely to work part-time than men in almost every EU member state.

The study shows however, that the more children a woman has, the more she will work part-time. The opposite is true for men.

According to the figures, which cover 2014, a clear jump in the percentage of women in part-time employment is recorded for women aged 25-49 between those without children and those with one child or more.


The figures show that the number of women in Ireland in part-time employment is at 16.2 per cent for those with no children. This rises to 32.7 per cent for working women with one child, 37.2 per cent for those with two children, and 47.3 per cent for mothers with more than three kids.

For men, just 12.2 per cent of those without children are in part-time employment. This falls to 8.9 per cent for fathers of one child, 8.6 per cent for those with two, and 8.9 per cent for working men with three children or more.

Ireland is ranked in the mid-range of EU countries, as regards the link between numbers of children and part-time contracts. The UK shows the highest rates of part-time working mothers with 58 per cent of women with children employed part-time versus just 6 per cent for men.

Overall, women earned 16.1 per cent less than men less than men in 2014, with the pay gap ranging from less than 5 per cent in Slovenia and Malta, to more than 20 per cent in Estonia, Austria, the Czech Republic and Slovakia.

No data was available for Ireland for 2014. However, figures from two years earlier showed the pay gap between men and women has actually widened here in recent years, with women now earning 14.4 per cent less than their male counterparts.

Those figures showed that Irish women earned almost a sixth less per hour than men in 2012, up from 12.6 per cent in 2008. Moreover, add in pensions to the picture and the situation is worse, with the gender pay gap increasing to 35 per cent.

Charlie Taylor

Charlie Taylor

Charlie Taylor is a former Irish Times business journalist