Abstract

Hakim C. Theoretical and Measurement Issues in the Analysis of Occupational Segregation. In: Beckmann P, editor. Gender specific occupational segregation: Beiträge zur Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung 188 (Monographs on Employment Research). Nürnberg: Institut fur Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung; 1996. p. 67-88.

Until recently, analyses of occupational segregation have focused on long term trends at the national level, and have thus been searching for the 'best' single number index. This paper argues that research should now be refocused on more substantive and theoretical issues. It sets out the practical weaknesses of the Dissimilarity Index (DI) and other single number indices and demonstrates the utility of a new three-fold classification which separates male-intensive and female-intensive segregated occupations from integrated or mixed occupations. The large and continuing sex differential in labour mobility across the lifecycle, in Europe and most other industrialised societies, and the increasing heterogeneity of the adult female population have important consequences for the design of longitudinal studies of occupational segregation. Future research on women's employment, including studies of occupational segregation, should differentiate between three qualitatively different groups: women in continuous employment, women who aim for the homemaker career and women with a discontinuous employment profile. The relative size of these groups is changing, and affects trends in occupational segregation. The characteristics of integrated and segregated occupations are explored, with some unexpected results. Finally the changing social functions of occupational segregation are illustrated through the changing pattern of occupational segregation 1981-1991. The implications for future research are considered.