IZA DP No. 3582: Work-Life Balance Practices and the Gender Gap in Job Satisfaction in the UK: Evidence from Matched Employer-Employee Data
This paper examines the role of work-life balance practices (WLB) in explaining the “paradox of the contented female worker”. After establishing that females report higher levels of job satisfaction than men in the UK, we test whether firm characteristics such as WLB and gender segregation boost the satisfaction of women proportionately more than that of men, thereby explaining why the former are reportedly happier. The results prove that WLB practices increase the likelihood of reporting higher satisfaction but similarly for both demographic groups thereby reducing the gender gap in job satisfaction only slightly. Still, the results indicate that WLB practices at the forefront of worker welfare policy improve the wellbeing of the workforce. Experiments with firm-fixed effects allowed by the matched dimension of the data reveal that firm effects are relevant but they only explain a half of the gender gap in job satisfaction, suggesting that the other half may be due to individual heterogeneity.