Demographic and social changes have had a major impact on the workforce and will continue to do so.

  • 68% of women aged 16-59 now work(ONS, 1998). Women are also predicted to account for 72% of the growth in jobs over the next few years and this will total 45% of all jobs(GHS, 1996).

  • In the next 20 years, the dependent elderly will out-number the dependent young and an increasing number of employees will have eldercare as well as child-care responsibilities. In 1996, one adult in eight in Britain was looking after, or providing some regular service, for a sick or elderly person(ONS, 1996) and 2.8 million men in the United Kingdoms are carers(ONS, 1998).

  • The proportion of families with dependent children headed by a lone parent has increased over the last thirty years from less than 8% to approximately 20%(ONS, 1996).



  • Office for National Statistics. Labour Force Survey Projections, Labour Market Trends, June 1998.
  • Office for National Statistics. Informal Carers. London: ONS, 1998.
  • Office for National Statistics. General Household Survey. London: ONS, 1996.

  • WFD/Management Today. The Great Work/Life Debate. London: Ceridian Performance Partners(formerly WFD), 1998


  • Dex S(ed), Families and the labour market: trends policies and pressures. Family Policies Studies Centre, 1999.
    A report on the stress imposed on family life by the changing nature of work and the working lives of families. Includes discussion on the ways families reconcile their domestic and work commitments.

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