Purpose: To analyse the existence of occupational segregation between older people without and with disabilities in an European context. Particular attention is paid to the positive relationship between female participation and occupational segregation among older workers with disabilities.
Method: Using data from the first two waves (2004 and 2007) of the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe, we compare the distribution of workers (disabled vs. non-disabled) across occupations for three different European regions in order to identify the percentage of older workers with disabilities who are concentrated in certain occupations and underrepresented in others. Also, we calculate the Duncan and Duncan Index of Dissimilarity to measure whether there is occupational segregation between disabled and non-disabled workers and the trend that European regions have followed during the last years.
Results: Comparing occupational distribution for European regions, we can identify a similar distribution in the Scandinavia and Central area, wherein there is an overrepresentation in favour of non-disabled workers in the most qualified occupation, while disabled workers are overrepresentated in services workers and elementary occupations. In Mediterranean area, disabled workers are overrepresentated in technicians and also in elementary occupations. In terms of occupational segregation the results show that older workers with disabilities suffer this problem someway in all European regions, especially in the Mediterranean countries wherein the Duncan and Duncan Index of Dissimilarity is higher. Nevertheless, the gap detected in the Duncan and Duncan Index of Dissimilarity between non-disabled and disabled older workers has reduced between 2004 and 2007.
Conclusions: The analysis of the occupational segregation among older people with disabilities across Europe becomes an important area of further research and potential policy implications. This knowledge can help policy makers and government to improve their labour conditions, social integration and levels of well-being.