Gender Gap in Employment and Salary In EU

womanjobIn recent year’s world has been hit by major economic crisis which has been termed as Recession. The great economic slowdown which started in US in 2007 also affected several other countries. European Union was also affected. Some of the countries of European Union also saw a second phase of recession. Due to the global crisis many people lost their jobs during this period. In many places salaries were slashed. Although the recession is over it is warned that the crisis still continues.

The Euro-zone GDP is 3% below that in year 2007/2008. The Greek economy has decreased by 23%, Ireland by 8%, Portugal by 8%, Spain by 8% and Italy by 9%.

The unemployment rate in Euro-zone is 12%. The unemployment rate in different nations of European Union is Greece 28%, Ireland 14%, Portugal 17%, Spain 26% and Italy 14%. The percentage of youth who are unemployed is also very high with rates going up to as high as 25-50% in some countries. Although both men and women have been equally hit by this recession as per the statistical data it has been seen that women have been affected more and have lost more jobs than men. But this was during the beginning years of recession. As per the statistics in the year 2000 the unemployment rate for women was 10% while for men it was 8%. In the successive years there has been narrowing of this gap. By the end of year 2002 this gap had come down to 1.5 percentage points and between 2002 and mid-2007 it was constant. In 2008 the male unemployment rate was 6.3% and female unemployment rate was 7.4%. In the years 2010 and the first half of the year 2011 there was a decline in the unemployment rate of men and at the same time the unemployment rate among women remained relatively same as in the previous years. This again resulted in the men’s rate being lower than women in the years 2010 and 2011. By the end of 2012 it was seen that the rates among men and women were very close, 10.7% for men and 10.8% for women and this was because of a steady rise in both men and women unemployment rates.

There is also a wide variation in salary between males and females in the different European Union member states. The causes for this variation are many like females giving preference to family life first and then to careers. Some women also discontinue work for short time because of children. The gender pay gap (GPG) is defined as the relative difference (in percentage) between the average gross hourly earnings of women and men. The differences in gender pay can be categorized depending on various categories like Gender Pay Gap on the basis of a) Working Profile b) Age c) Economic Activity. Given below are the statistical data of the Gender Pay Gap in the different categories.

The difference in average hourly income of men and women is high with gross hourly income of women being 16% below that of men in the year 2011 in European Union and in the euro area. In the member states also it GPG varied by 25 percentage points with the lowest being in Slovenia(2%) and the highest in Estonia( 27%).

a) Working Profile (Part- time and Full-time): In 2011 the scenario of GPG in different countries of EU was:

Part-time workers: Ireland (-17%), Bulgaria (-4%), Malta (-2%), Spain (35%), Portugal(31%) and Slovakia(23%)

Full-time workers: Slovakia and Germany (20%) and lowest or no pay gap In Italy (0%).

b) Age: With age there was seen an increase in GPG which might be due to interruptions in the career of women during the middle ages. So, the gender pay gap was lower below the age of 25 years. Exceptions to this were countries like Cyprus with lowest gap between the ages 25-34 years, Italy and Malta ( lowest between ages 55-64 years) and Bulgaria and Romania( employees 65 years and above).

c) Economic Activity: The gender pay gap was found to be higher in finance and insurance activities than in business economy. The highest pay gap in finance and insurance sector was recorded in Czech Republic and UK. However in different countries the pay gap was different in various sectors.

The gender pay gap forms the framework for strategy for equality between women and men of the European Commission. While the gender pay gap can be an indicator of the position of women in labor market other factors should also be taken into consideration to account for gender pay gap.