Why the pay gap narrows when women dominate an occupation

POSTED: 14th December 2012
IN: Personal Guides

When it comes to personal income, men still typically earn more than women but a new study has shed light on how occupational segregation can narrow the gap.

undefinedResearchers from the University of Cambridge and Canada's Lakehead University conducted a large-scale survey of 20 industrialised countries.

They found that women working in female-dominated occupations had a better rate of equal pay than those working in a more mixed-gender environment.

It appears the reason for this is that women have a greater chance of climbing to the top of the career ladder to earn the big-buck positions if men do not dominate the workplace.

The study, published in the journal Sociology, said: "The greater the degree of overall segregation, the less the possibility exists for discrimination against women and so there is more scope for women to develop progressive careers."

As the research revealed, Slovenia proved to have the best pay prospects for women where they actually earned slightly more than men.

In contrast, the UK was found to have a higher-than-average pay gap and fared less well on equality, with Japan, Czech Republic and Austria marking the bottom of the table.

On the higher end of the scale, Mexico, Hungary and Brazil all performed well in terms of equal pay.

So what is the actual pay gap between men and women in the UK?

Well according to figures from the Fawcett Society, for every £100 a man takes home in pay, his female counterpart will get £85, which results in a difference of 14.9 per cent.

The Fawcett Society's chief executive Ceri Goddard warned the gap could increase as the economy is still struggling to regain momentum in the wake of the financial crisis.

She said: "In recent years, progress on closing the gap has slowed, but as the age of austerity bites, we now face the very real prospect of the gap actually widening for the first time since records began."

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