Executive summary: For women, the life stage at which combining employment with other commitments is most challenging is when they are raising their children. This report focuses on this time, providing information about mothers’ employment from those with babies through to those with primary school-age children. The report provides
some broad descriptive information about mothers’ employment patterns, including work hours, job
contracts and occupations, in addition to the simpler measure of whether or not they are employed. It also
explores how patterns vary across the characteristics of mothers and families.
The report is based on the first four waves of the Longitudinal Study of Australian Children (LSAC), including
families of children from both the B cohort (‘birth’ at Wave 1, born between March 2003 and February 2004)
and the K cohort (‘kindergarten’ at Wave 1, born between March 1999 and February 2000). The data are
primarily taken from reports of mothers of these children and specifically relate to characteristics of their
employment at each wave. This allows analyses of differences in employment characteristics of mothers
who have different personal and family characteristics and also allows analyses of mothers’ employment
transitions from one wave to the next. Both approaches are used in this report.