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Understanding the gender pay gap: What role do sector and occupation play?

14 December 2021


Despite the increasing participation of women in the labour market and a higher share of women than men being hired into well-paid jobs in recent years, a gender pay gap exists across all EU Member States. Pay differentials between women and men have been shown to be significantly influenced by the economic sector where people work and the occupation they hold. This policy brief examines these dimensions. It also identifies how much these and other factors contribute to gender disparities in pay. The analysis finds that, of the observable factors examined, the greater likelihood of women working in lower-paying sectors and working part-time are the most important contributors to the gender pay gap. Nevertheless, around two-thirds of the gap in the EU remains unexplained by individual and employment-related factors typically analysed, suggesting that other factors not captured by survey wage data account for the rest of it.



gender equality working conditions employment structure pay and income employment and labour markets

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Cite this publication
Eurofound (2021), Understanding the gender pay gap: What role do sector and occupation play? European Jobs Monitor series, Publications Office of the European Union, Luxembourg.
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