Number of women employees exceeds men, census reveals


FOR THE first time the number of female employees has surpassed that of men, according to the latest batch of Census 2011 results.

It is one of a series of findings that reflect how traditional gaps between men and women in areas such as employment and education are narrowing rapidly.

Most of these changes are a consequence of the collapse in male-dominated industries such as construction and manufacturing between the 2006 and 2011 census.

By contrast, job growth in female-dominated areas of work such as teaching, health and social work resulted in an overall increase of just over 30,000 women at work. There were 853,000 women at work in 2011, compared to 955,000 men, a difference of just over 100,000. This is the smallest gap on record.

When broken down by occupation, the number of female employees rose to 785,000, while the number of male employees fell to 710,000, an unprecedented development. The number of men who were self-employed, however, was significantly higher than the number of women. Shrinking job opportunities appears to be one of the factors that has resulted in increased involvement among men and women in the education sector.

Overall, the proportion of male students increased from 47 per cent to 49 per cent between the 2006 and 2011 census, while females fell from 53 per cent to 51 per cent.

Women were still, on the whole, better educated and accounted for 56 per cent of those with a third-level qualification. In some cases these changes in employment and education have contributed to a reversal in traditional gender roles.

There were 18,000 male home-makers in Ireland, an 8 per cent rise on 2006. By contrast, the number of women looking after the home or family fell by 13 per cent. Despite these shifts, females still accounted for 94 per cent of all homemakers.

At the most senior levels of employment, men continued to dominate. They accounted for the majority of managers (54 per cent) and higher professionals.

Other results show the number of non-Irish nationals employed increased by almost 24,000 between 2006 and 2011, despite an overall fall in those at work. There was also a higher jobless rate among non-Irish compared to Irish nationals.

When the census results are broken down by electoral division, there are worryingly high pockets of unemployment. The overall census-based unemployment rate was 19 per cent. But this jumped to 57 per cent in one part of Limerick city.

When measured by local authority area, Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown recorded the lowest unemployment rate (12 per cent).