Get access

The Work–Family Interface of Service Sector Workers: A Comparison of Work Resources and Professional Status across Five European Countries


  • Research for this study was partly supported by the European Commission through funding from the cross-national collaborative research project Quality of Life in a Changing Europe (QUALITY), within which the data were collected. The authors would like to thank co-researchers in the QUALITY project as well as the guest editors and three anonymous reviewers for very helpful comments on earlier drafts of this paper.


The present paper examines cross-national differences in the utilisation of work–family resources at the organisational level and the relationships between these resources and work-to-home interference (WHI) and satisfaction with work–family balance (SWFB) among professional and non-professional service sector employees in five Western European countries. Further, it explores cross-national variations in the gap between professionals and non-professionals with respect to both outcome variables. Professional service sector employees were consistently found to experience higher levels of WHI and lower levels of SWFB. The use of organisational work–family resources differed across welfare state regimes and levels of national gender equality. It was highest in Sweden and the Netherlands and lowest in Portugal. A family-supportive supervisor and a family-supportive organisational culture differentially affected WHI of professional and non-professional workers, with a family-supportive supervisor being more beneficial to non-professionals and a family-supportive organisational culture being more beneficial to professional employees. Finally, the gap between professionals and non-professionals was also found to vary across countries for WHI but not for SWFB. It was significantly larger in the UK and in Sweden than in the other three countries.

Get access to the full text of this article