Recent patterns of occupational placement and mobility of paid domestic work in metropolitan Brazil: discontinuity and persistence

Abstract Essentially female, black/brown and poor, the occupation of domestic worker is treated differently even by the labor legislation. This paper aims to identify how the women’s life cycle, generations, and other individual characteristics, as well as the macroeconomic situation and institutional changes, affect their chances of being and remaining a domestic worker in the metropolitan areas of Brazil in recent years. Data from Monthly Employment Research, from 2002 to 2015, was applied in an age-period-cohort log-linear modeling of the transition and immobility frequencies from employment categories. The conjuncture aspect is the most influential, followed by cohort. This occupation is both shrinking and “getting older” as fewer young women are participating in this labor market while older women take up more space. This is related both to the postponement of retirement and the lowest occupational mobility at a later stage in life. Furthermore, being black/brown is largely influential on insertion and occupational mobility that is shifting across birth cohorts and decreasing overtime, even though the difference in probability for black/brown and white women being domestic workers remains constant. Moreover, domestic work is more unstable than other occupations, contradicting the previous notion of an occupational trap that was in fact due to individual characteristics of workers.