Report sheds new light on gender equality at work

In both the public and private sectors, gender-segregation has had more of an impact that previously believed 

On average, men earn 14.4 percent more than women in Denmark – an improvement of 2.5 percentage points compared to 2010. 

In the past, researchers have found that part of the difference is down to factors such as choice of education and place of employment. 

But, the 7 percentage point difference has remained unexplained …  until now.

A new report by VIVE has uncovered some new reasons behind the difference: for instance that gender segregation plays a more prominent role than previously believed.

In short, the longer women are employed in a given work function, the lower the wage will be – in both the private and public sector.

According to the report, gender segregation leads to wage disparity because there are systematic wage differences in jobs dominated by women compared to jobs dominated by men.

READ ALSO: Denmark top dog for gender equality in the labour market

Benefits, stability > higher wage
Other new findings included men being placed higher in the job hierarchy and having more work experience than women, and that women take more time off work. 

The report suggests that in some women-dominated vocations in the public sector, there have been times when wage agreement negotiations have focused more on increased benefits than a higher wage.

In the private sector there are more opportunities, but the report indicated that women can be less inclined to negotiate their wages. Another explanation could be that women in the private sector are perhaps more likely to choose jobs that are more stable, but pay less.

READ ALSO: Minister for gender equality says “Don’t wait for us!”

Gov ready to discuss
However, it is also believed that if women on average had taken the same (shorter) educations as men, the wage difference would have been even greater.

“We can see that the biggest challenge to attain wage equality is that the Danish labour market is very gender-divided and that plays a bigger role than we had thought until now,” said the employment minister, Peter Hummelgaard.

Hummelgaard said that the government was ready to discuss options, should the labour market players want to do so.

Read the entire report here (in Danish).