Changing labour markets, educational attainment, work experience, constraints and preferences have all been proposed to explain the features of contemporary female labour force participation. This engagement has been characterised as part-time and segregated in low status, poorly paid jobs. Despite the fact that almost half of all older female workers are employed part-time, there is a dearth of information on who these workers are (the forgotten labour force) and what, if anything has changed over time for this cohort. For the first time, key variables are drawn from three labour force datasets over a 16-year period to provide a likely profile of the older female part-time worker, highlight where they work and in what capacity, as well as shedding light on what has changed over this period. This trend analysis highlights significant changes for this worker cohort, the implications of which are discussed from individual, organisational and societal perspectives.
The rise in zero hours contracts in liberal market economies (LMEs) has recently received much attention with calls for regulation to protect workers. LMEs typically adopt flexible labour market policies that are less regulated than coordinated market economies (CMEs) as a competitive advantage. In this paper we examine nuanced differences in the nature and regulation of zero hours work in the United Kingdom (UK) and Ireland. With an increased diffusion of zero hours work in both countries, we examine the different responses taken by these similar LMEs to this contemporary employment issue. We examine whether, as expected in an LME context, there is weak regulation in both countries and the factors influencing this. We find subtle but important differences between regulations of zero hours contracts. We conclude by discussing the possible implications of the UK’s exit from the European Union (EU) (Brexit) for the regulation of precarious work.