Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Subject to discrimination from the first day on the job

18.12.2013
When starting out in their careers, young women already earn less money than young men for doing the same work. This is the conclusion of a study conducted by the National Research Programme “Gender Equality” (NRP 60).

Equal pay for equal work: this principle is set out under the Federal Constitution, but its implementation is lagging behind. Women still earn significantly less than men, even if they hold the same qualifications, have the same length of experience and perform the same tasks.

Up until now, it was unknown at what career stage the gender wage gap opens up. Researchers led by the economist Michael Marti of Ecoplan, a research and consultancy company based in Bern, have now established that women are already paid less than men when they start out in their career.

The scientists analysed the data of some 6,000 young adults who had participated since the year 2000 in a long-term study on the transition from school to working life. They compared the entry-level salaries of young women with those of young men. In their analysis, the researchers examined a large variety of factors that could explain differing wages, i.e. schooling and training as well as grades in school-leaving and apprenticeship certificates. In addition, they also considered the skills of the young adults having taken the Pisa test, their profession and background, the size of the company and even the set of values of the young adults and the socio-economic status of their parents.

Lower entry-level salaries for women
After considering all these factors, an unexplained wage gap of 7 per cent or CHF 278 per month resulted between women and men. “This amount would need to be added to women’s starting salary if they were to pull level with men,” says Marti. He adds that it is highly unlikely that there are other factors, unaccounted for in the analysis, which might explain the wage gap. “It seems that the wage gap can only be explained by wage discrimination.”
Men’s salaries rise faster
The fact that the wage gap is particularly wide in professions with a balanced gender ratio, i.e. where the gender issue does not appear to be a pressing concern, surprised the researchers. These sectors, in particular, seem to lack awareness of wage equality. But women also fare worse in typically female and in typically male jobs. They often assume – either by free choice or assignment – activities and jobs that are less well paid, whilst the opposite is true for young men in professions typically dominated by women: they take on tasks that are better paid. The researchers also note that wage progression follows different trajectories for men and women: men’s salaries rise faster, meaning that the wage gap widens even further in the first few years of employment.

There are many reasons for this wage discrimination, according to the researchers. It cannot be ruled out that young men consciously or unconsciously choose companies where higher salaries are paid, or that they are more assertive when negotiating their pay. Furthermore, the early choice of a profession in the Swiss occupational training system seems to be detrimental to young women; they frequently opt for typically female jobs in the healthcare sector or work as hairdressers or florists, where wage levels are low as a rule. However, the researchers believe that the wage gap in itself is more likely the result of employers discriminating against women, i.e. they promote them to a lesser extent and offer them lower salaries. This discrimination may have to do with the fact that employers consciously or unconsciously assume that women will stay with the company for a shorter period of time because they will have children at some stage and therefore reduce their work-ing hours or leave the company entirely.

Greater wage transparency
What measures could help to rectify the wage inequality observed amongst career starters? Increasing wage transparency and further raising employers’ awareness of wage equality are crucial, says the economist Kathrin Bertschy. But, she adds, the efforts cannot stop there: the course towards wage gaps is crucially set already when choices about occupational training and education are taken; this development is reinforced later when families are started. Women should be guided not so much by traditional roles but by the need for skilled employees when choosing their profession, says Bertschy. Vocational counselling services must improve further in this area. Furthermore, the “risk” of a hiatus from gainful employment is borne unilaterally by women. It is women who take maternity leave and then assume most of the child care and domestic work, one reason also being that their employment pays less by comparison. The researchers therefore believe that some form of parental leave, as exists in Scandinavian countries, could be a way of reducing wage inequalities: if it were introduced, employers would also have to expect their male employees to take a hiatus from gainful employment when they have children.
Contact
Kathrin Bertschy
University of Basel
Institute for Sociology
CH-4051 Basel
+41 78 667 68 85
kathrin.bertschy@unibas.ch
Dr Michael Marti
Ecoplan
Monbijoustrasse 14
CH-3011 Bern
+41 31 356 61 61
marti@ecoplan.ch
A summary of the study is available on the NRP 60 website: www.nfp60.ch > Projects > Cluster 2: Education + Careers

Media - Abteilung Kommunikation | idw
Further information:
http://www.nrp60.ch/E/projects/education_careers/career-entry_wage-discrimination_belodis/Pages/default.aspx

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht A sudden drop in outdoor temperature increases the risk of respiratory infections
11.01.2017 | University of Gothenburg

nachricht Urbanization to convert 300,000 km2 of prime croplands
27.12.2016 | Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change (MCC) gGmbH

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Interfacial Superconductivity: Magnetic and superconducting order revealed simultaneously

Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.

While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...

Im Focus: Studying fundamental particles in materials

Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales

Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...

Im Focus: Designing Architecture with Solar Building Envelopes

Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.

As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...

Im Focus: How to inflate a hardened concrete shell with a weight of 80 t

At TU Wien, an alternative for resource intensive formwork for the construction of concrete domes was developed. It is now used in a test dome for the Austrian Federal Railways Infrastructure (ÖBB Infrastruktur).

Concrete shells are efficient structures, but not very resource efficient. The formwork for the construction of concrete domes alone requires a high amount of...

Im Focus: Bacterial Pac Man molecule snaps at sugar

Many pathogens use certain sugar compounds from their host to help conceal themselves against the immune system. Scientists at the University of Bonn have now, in cooperation with researchers at the University of York in the United Kingdom, analyzed the dynamics of a bacterial molecule that is involved in this process. They demonstrate that the protein grabs onto the sugar molecule with a Pac Man-like chewing motion and holds it until it can be used. Their results could help design therapeutics that could make the protein poorer at grabbing and holding and hence compromise the pathogen in the host. The study has now been published in “Biophysical Journal”.

The cells of the mouth, nose and intestinal mucosa produce large quantities of a chemical called sialic acid. Many bacteria possess a special transport system...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

Nothing will happen without batteries making it happen!

05.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Water - as the underlying driver of the Earth’s carbon cycle

17.01.2017 | Earth Sciences

Interfacial Superconductivity: Magnetic and superconducting order revealed simultaneously

17.01.2017 | Materials Sciences

Smart homes will “LISTEN” to your voice

17.01.2017 | Architecture and Construction

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>