Employers' growing use of a dual wage scale to cut labor costs is causing rising union concern. This is according to The World of Work Report, which cites these figures to show how quickly the idea -- in which new hires earn lower pay rates, sometimes permanently -- is catching on:

While only 4.4 percent of labor contracts included "two-tiered" pay in 1983, the Bureau of National Affairs says that figure doubled during the first half of 1984. The agreements, says the World of Work Report, are not just in depressed industries, but also in healthy, high-tech ones.

While employers say such pay agreements help them stay competitive, union leaders argue they foster discord between new and veteran workers and discourage productivity. In some of the contracts, new hires match the pay of older workers after several years; in others, they never do.

Deregulation has made the airline industry a prime candidate for the two-tier concept: The Association of Flight Attendants reluctantly agreed to dual-wage scales with six airlines this past year.

The World of Work Report is published by the nonprofit Work in America Institute Inc., Scarsdale, N.Y. The NEW Moment

The 800 to 900 women who own or manage their own businesses in Northern Virginia now have a NEW group to turn to for support -- if they can beat the crush at the door.

Enthusiasm over last month's launching of NEW, the Network of Entrepreneurial Women, has so far exceeded the capacity of meeting places to contain it. The Reston group's second meeting last month was closed when attendance reached 110. Attendance also had to be limited at the first meeting.

The group "really appears to be meeting the needs of a lot of women," says Elynn Eiss, president of International Jewelers of Reston & Burke and president of NEW's founding board of directors.

NEW plans to promote business among its members, provide support and technical assistance to new business owners and offer continuing education in such areas as marketing, long-range planning, publicity and benefit packages. Several seminar-lunches are also being planned around the subject of home-based businesses.

Full membership is open to all women owners or partners in Northern Virginia businesses. Associate membership is open to women in management positions. Further information is available from NEW at (703) 435-4449. Monitoring the Monitors

The Women's Bureau of the Labor Department is failing its mandate to monitor the needs of women workers, according to a report adopted unanimously by the House Committee on Government Operations.

The report, critical of the bureau's conduct under the Reagan administration, was based on testimony by numerous women's groups at a July public hearing -- the first to question bureau performance in its 64 years of existence. The report was prepared by the Democratic-controlled Manpower and Housing Subcommittee.

A major focus was the RIFFing of two San Francisco regional administrators last year because bureau management disapproved of their job-sharing arrangement. The report also notes complaints by union women that the bureau has virtually severed ties to labor organizations, and by community groups that new bureau restrictions limit the ability of Women's Bureau staff to cooperate on joint projects.

The report and several recommendations have been sent to the Bureau for formal response. Need Job, Will Travel

More than one out of three unemployed managers are going out of state for new jobs, reports a Chicago outplacement consulting firm. It attributes the jump to lessons learned in the 1981-82 recession, when unwillingness to move shrank job prospects.

Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc., which conducted the study, claims 36 percent of its unemployed managers now move to claim new jobs, up from 25 percent in prerecession periods.

"I think it's reversing a trend," says James Challenger, the company's president. "It used to be that one in five would move." The finding, he says, bears no relation to the continued reluctance of younger workers to accept corporate transfers or promotions within their firms that would force them to relocate.

The survey covered 1,200 or more managers across the country, most in their mid-40s and earning a median salary of about $46,000. All became clients of Challenger's firm when they were discharged by their initial employers.