Labour Research November 2016

Equality news

Childcare disadvantage for low-skilled mothers

Mothers in low-skilled jobs are more likely to have to give up work or cut their hours after the birth of their second child.

A study from the London School of Economics, Effects of having kids on mothers’ working hours, has found that in the UK, childcare services may be too costly or not suitable for the needs of low-skilled women who are more likely to work shifts. Their working hours therefore do not match the hours of formal childcare provision.

While the effect of having a second child is large for low-skilled women, it appears to have little impact on women with high or intermediate skills. 

If there is a decrease in the number of weekly hours worked by high- and intermediate-skilled women associated with a second child, this is more likely to be attributable to their career aspirations and not to the second child, the report found. 

The findings came out of research on fertility and labour supply by academics Claudia Hupkau and Marion Leturcq whose study focused on a group of 3,000 women aged 20-36, all of whom had their first child in 2000-01 in the UK. 

The researchers distinguished high- and intermediate-skilled women from low-skilled women based on their occupation before the birth of their first child. And they focused on labour market outcomes measured when the first child reached 6-12 years old.