The gender pay gap skyrocketed in 2018 for the first time in the 21st century


The gender pay gap adjusted, one that measures the percentage difference in salary between men and women with all their characteristics and tries to find a measure of differences in remuneration for the same work done, increased in 2018 to 13.3%thus becoming the first year with ascending data of the 21st centuryaccording to Fedea.

The Fedea report, prepared by Brindusa Anghel and J. Ignacio Conde-Ruiz, is based on the 2018 Wage Structure Survey (EES), from which it extracts socioeconomic characteristics of workers, such as sex, age, educational level and experience, and also the ccharacteristics of the job and the company, which include its size, the type of contract, the type of working day, the occupation and the sector of activity.

Anghel and Conde-Ruiz conclude, after comparing these data with those of previous years, that in 2018 cut short the downward path in the wage gap adjusted gender, which went from 12.7% in 2014 to 13.3% in 2018, 0.6 percentage points in four years.

They do not rule out that it is a specific event

The authors of the study ask to take these results “with caution” since they have not found “a convincing explanation of why in 2018 the gender wage gap increased for the first time since we entered the 21st century. Until the year 2014there had been an important advance, reducing a third of the gap salary”, point out Anghel and Conde-Ruiz.

One of the reasons they are considering is that the labor market prevents women from continuing to advance in the wage convergence process, although they also do not rule out that it is “a punctual event“At a time, the year 2018, in which Spain had just recover production level prior to the real estate explosion of the Great Recession of 2008.

Faced with these doubts, the authors of the report recommend waiting for the next wave of the EES, which would correspond to the past 2022, “to confirm if the gap remains the same, continues to decrease or is it a change in trend”.

Worse situation than men in terms of salary

The variables analyzed in the Fedea report reflect that women are in worst salary situation that men, despite the educational effort of women under 50 years of age, with levels of much higher education than men of his generation. Women suffer a higher unemployment rate, a lower employment rate and more job insecurity, present negative wage gaps in all dimensions and are underrepresented in positions of responsibility.

By age groups, the work by Anghel and Conde-Ruiz shows an increase in the age-adjusted wage gap. In 2018, men under 30 years of age had, on average, a salary 6.8% higher than that of women. That percentage rose to 15.2% in the group over 50 years of age. The only age group in which the trend is reversed is that of those over 59 years of age, where the gap has gone from 17.2% to 15.2%.

A “plausible” explanation for this increase could be maternity, although Fedea points out that although the EES is very detailed, it does not provide information on the number of children, so “it is not possible to estimate the effect that maternity has on the pay gap.”

Women are more qualified than men

If the educational level is analyzed, Fedea points out that increases the qualification of women, but the wage differential continues in favor of men at all stages of training. In this way, a woman with primary education had an income 13% below that of a man in 2018. The gap was 14.2% for workers with secondary education and 12.1% for the group with studies university students

In addition, antiquity in the company also affects the remuneration of women. In 2018, a woman with the same characteristics as a man earned 8.2% less than him if she had been with the company for less than a year. The percentage shot up to 15.8% when both had worked in that company for more than seven years.

In the case of gaps by occupation, Anghel and Conde-Ruiz find that in 2018 women are underrepresented in the positions of directors and managers, technicians and support professionals, artisans and skilled workers, and machine operators, while there is an overrepresentation of women among technicians and professionals. scientists, administrative employees, service, restaurant and personal workers; and unskilled workers.

The highest adjusted wage gaps are found in the occupation of Artisans and Skilled Workers, with a difference of 24.3%, and in that of Machinery Operators, with 18.2%, both characterized by having a very low proportion of women .

By sectors of activity there are also numerous differences in terms of the adjusted pay gap. In 2018, women were underrepresented in the extractive industries, manufacturing, production and distribution of electricity, gas, and water, construction, and transportation and storage. Likewise, that year they were overrepresented in hospitality, financial intermediation, education, health activities and other social activities.

In 2018, in all sectors the gaps were negative for women, particularly in manufacturing, with 20.1%, in the production and distribution of electricity, gas and water, 19.2%, and in financial intermediation, 17%. In addition, in 2018, for the first time in the historical series, the adjusted gender gaps increased in sectors such as education, commerce and hospitality.

By type of contract and working hours

Anghel and Conde-Ruiz also study in this Fedea report the adjusted wage gap based on the type of contract and working hours. By type of contract, in the case of permanent contractsthe salary gap in 2018 was 14.3%, while in the temporary contract was 9.1%. From this it can be concluded that men earn 14% more if they have a permanent contract and 9% if the contract is temporary.

In the evolution over time, the gender gaps adjusted by type of contract were narrowing until the last wave in 2018, when they increased by 3.5% in permanent contracts and 16% in temporary contracts.

By type of working day, the wage gap was higher in the case of full-time workers, 13.7% in 2018, compared to 11% for part-time workers. The presence of women is much higher in part-time contracts, 66.6%, than in full-time contracts, 41.2%.

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