English title: Family-Friendly Policies and Women’s Wages – Is There a Trade-Off? Skill Investments, Occupational Segregation and the Gender Pay Gap in Germany, Sweden and the UK

Author(s): Anne Grönlund - Charlotta Magnusson -

Language: English

Type: Report, working paper

Year: 2014


Recent research has raised the hypothesis that there is a trade-off between the ‘family-friendliness’ of jobs, occupations and welfare states on the one hand and women ´s relative wages on the other. In particular, extensive family policies – as found in Scandinavia - are thought to harm high-educated women by affecting on-the-job training investments and occupational segregation. In this article we examine how workplace skill investments and occupational gender segregation impact on the gender wage gap among high- and low-educated groups, respectively. Parallel analyses are carried out for Germany, Sweden and the UK, three countries representing different welfare states and family policy models. The analysis is based on OLS regressions with pooled wage data from the European Social Survey of 2004 and 2010 (n˜1 200-1 500 per country). The results point to important differences between high- and low-educated employees, but provide no strong support for the mechanisms suggested in the trade-off hypothesis. In Sweden and Germany, the gender wage gap is considerably larger among the high educated; in the UK a large gap is found in both groups. Among the low educated, gendered returns to experience, 2 differential access to on-the-job training and occupational gender segregation explain the gender wage gap in Germany and approximately halves it in Sweden and the UK. Among the high educated, occupational segregation and on-the-job training explain very little of the wage gap. The large and unexplained gender wage gap among the high-educated call for further analysis and theoretical development to better understand the mechanisms driving these inequalities.

Edition: 0

Institution: Umeå University, Department of Sociology

Number of pages: 29

Number: 1

Series: Welfare Studies Working Paper Series

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