Unequal Professional Career Mobility: The Effects of Class, Ethnicity and Gender on Obtaining Managerial Positions in Danish Welfare Professions

Publikation: KonferencebidragPaperForskningfagfællebedømt

In many Scandinavian studies, individuals who are either male, belong to ethnic majority groups, and/or have relatively high social origin, have been shown to have privileged access to managerial positions, thus contributing to social inequality. This paper examines whether this is also the case in welfare professions, which recruits mainly females, and which work practices and ethos is often considered to be strongly associated with femininity.

In this paper, four complete cohorts of welfare professionals, who complete professional training in respectively 1980 (n=7309), 1990 (n=8751), 2000 (n=18829) and 2010 (n=17079). The data stem from public registers and cover socio-economic data on the parents of the professionals, and the educational and career trajectory of the professionals, from the year of training completion, and until 2013.

The professionals are described by gender, ethnicity (from parental citizenship) and 11 social classes of origin (separating middle and upper classes by amount of economic and cultural capital possessed) which allows for a comparison of the professionals who obtain managerial positions later in their career and those, who do not. I analyze the chances of obtaining such positions, the time it takes to obtain such positions, and the degree of inequality measured by odds-ratios of access to such positions on gender, ethnicity and class.

The analysis shows that the general findings of access to managerial positions also hold for welfare professional work, with the odds-ratios for managerial positions being very favorable for males, for ethnic majority members, and for individuals with higher and culturally privileged social origins. This unequal access is particularly evident when it comes to obtaining managerial positions early in the professional career. There is, however, also evidence of a form of intergenerational social closure, i.e. advantages to individuals who possess welfare capital, which is to say, who social origin includes welfare work.
StatusUdgivet - 2021

ID: 256474501