Autonomy, control and job advancement the case of low paid women working in food retail

Linda McKie, Gillian Hogg, Laura Airey, Kathryn Backett-Milburn, Zoe Rew

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Food retail is a major employer and growth sector. It is one in which gender segregation is evident with many shops reliant on part-time low paid women employees. Most of these employees are trying to combine care responsibilities and paid work. This research note explores findings from 55 interviews with women working in nine food retail businesses in Scotland. Analysis illustrates the ways shop assistants maximize their control over time to ensure that unpaid family and care work can be prioritized. By contrast supervisors find promotion brings constraints on time and autonomy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)787-796
Number of pages10
JournalWork, Employment and Society
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2009



  • food retail work
  • autonomy
  • low wage earners
  • women in employment

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