Busy unequal women, awakening governments, male detachment: Care in Latin America today

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blogocram, CC BY-NC 2.0

Let us start with the obvious: economically and politically Latin America is a roller coaster: every roughly two decades we can expect the most amazing U-turns.

When it comes to women’s status however, changes have been consistent and persistent across economic cycles and political swings. In 1990, only 32 out of every 100 women had a paid job and by 2010 there were already more women in than outside the labor force – 53 out of every 100 and 70 percent among women of childbearing age. Women have become better educated than men and the region’s fertility has approached a replacement level rate. Dual earner families have become more prominent than the male-breadwinning arrangement, and female-headed families have increased across countries to become, on average, a third of all households. Continue reading

SOZNET – Austrian Research Network on Labor and Employment Research

SOZNET is an Austrian research network of university and non-university social science institutes focusing on labor and employment research. The aim of this cooperation is to strengthen research on work-related issues and to intensify the cooperation between institutes.

Map of Austria showing the location of different SOZNET partners
Austria_all“ by Andreas Griessner, licenced under CC BY-SA 3.0.

Up until a few years ago, Austrian research on working life was centered in the non-university research sector. Recent developments at the universities of Linz, Vienna and Graz opened new possibilities and chances for cooperation. This reassignment is now used to promote an intensified cooperation between the research institutes. Continue reading

Austria – A Leisure Society? On The Complexity of Working Time Statistics

Compared with other countries Austria is considered to have an above-average amount of annual paid leave (25 days) and many public holidays (approx. 13 days). Christoph Neumayer of the Federation of Austrian Industries (Industriellenvereinigung) even called Austria a “leisure society”. Contrary to this, trade unions point to long working hours and the high amount of overtime in Austria which amounted to 270 million hours in 2013. So do we work too much or maybe even too little?

In the debate on working time, statistics play an important role. Particularly when it comes to international comparison various statistics come into play and working time can mean quite different things, depending on the operationalization. For example “agreed working hours” are the collectively agreed working hours, “actual weekly hours” are the hours worked in a reference week including overtime but also absence and “usual weekly hours” refer to the hours worked in a normal working week over a longer period of time including overtime.

What can we learn from these statistics and is Austria indeed some kind of “leisure society”? Let´s have a look at the figures. With collectively “agreed working hours” of 38.8 hours per week Austria is slightly above the European average of 38.1 hours. Even when deducting annual paid leave and holidays, Austrian full-time employees still work above-average hours in the European Union, projected to the year as a whole (AT: 33.3 and EU-28: 32.9). However, overtime is not included here. When referring to “actual working hours” per week we see that Austria ranks in the upper middle field of working hours in the European Union (AT: 40.1 and EU-28: 39.6). Starting from “usual working hours” we get a very different picture. Here, Austria climbs to the top of the European ‘ranking’ with 41.8 hours per week, even when annual paid leave and holidays are taken into account.

Table showing the working hours in European countries Continue reading

Separating Work From Life – Cross-Border Commuters in Central Europe

The research project “TRANSLAB – Cross-Border Labour Mobility, Transnational Labour Markets and Social Differentiation in the Central European Region” at the Department of Sociology, University of Vienna, aims to provide an in-depth look at commuters from Hungary, Slovakia and Czech Republic bordering on Austria. This transnational labor market is particularly interesting as a specific historical political context in which global societal processes and European transformations interact. The focus of the project is on commuters’

a) reasons for commuting,

b) labor market integration and occupational trajectory,

c) integration into social networks and dynamics of social inequality.

The TRANSLAB project builds on the established methods of ‘ethnosurvey’ data collection and associated, more recent applications for the European setting. Based on quota sampling the social research department GfK Austria and its Central European partner institutes carried out face-to-face interviews with a total of 1.345 commuters to Austria and a reference group consisting of 1.334 non-commuters. Additionally we interviewed 20 experts consisting of EURES employees, business owners as well as local mayors and trade union representatives. At the moment a survey of biographical interviews with commuters is conducted.

Vienna is not only the capital and largest city of Austria, it is also the cultural and economic center of the Central European Region (Centrope). Centrope is one of many Euroregions that encourage cooperation among the border regions of Hungary, Slovakia, Czech Republic and Austria. One of the starting points of the political project is that wage levels and unemployment rates still tend to diverge quite significantly. Therefore mobility of labor is a core aim of the Centrope Strategy 2013+.

Graphic 1: The Central European Region

Map of the Central European Region with Vienna at its center

Continue reading