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Geschlechtsspezifische Unterschiede bei der Studienfachwahl führen zu einem geschlechtsspezifischen Lohngefälle unmittelbar nach dem Studienabschluss

Ein interessanter Artikel beleuchtet Ursachen für den Gender Pay Gap, also den durchschnittlichen Unterschied im Gehalt nach Geschlecht ohne Betrachtung des konkreten Jobs etc.

October 5th is the deadline for big companies to report their gender pay gaps. In 2019 – before the pandemic disrupted data collection – women were paid 16% less per hour than men on average. The gap in average annual earnings was even larger, at 37%, since women are much more likely to work part-time.

There is a lot of focus on the role of unequal childcare responsibilities in understanding the gender pay gap. The wedge between women’s and men’s pay increases sharply after women have their first child. Women often choose jobs closer to home, limiting their options for well-paid jobs, and there are pay penalties for part-time work and time spent caring.

Das ist schon eine interessante Aufstellung, ich habe mir die Links mal angeschaut:

Gehaltunterschiede nach der Geburt des ersten Kindes:

The gender wage gap increases gradually after the arrival of children. Possible explanations include mothers missing out on promotions or simply accumulating less labour market experience


  • A big difference in employment rates between men and women opens up upon the arrival of the first child and is highly persistent. Before the first child is born, the employment rates of men and women are almost identical. But between the year before and the year after the birth of the child, women’s employment rates drop by 33 percentage points for those with GCSEs, 19ppts for those with A levels and 16ppts for graduates – while barely changing for men. By the time that child is aged 20, women’s employment rates still have not caught up again with men’s.
  • By 20 years after the birth of their first child, women have on average been in paid work for four years less than men and have spent nine years less in paid work of more than 20 hours per week.

Taking time out of paid work is associated with lower wages when returning …

  • Comparing women who had the same hourly wage before leaving paid work, wages when they return are on average 2% lower for each year spent out of paid work in the interim.
  • This apparent wage penalty for taking time out of paid work is greater for more highly educated women, at 4% for each year out of paid work. The lowest-educated women (who actually take more time out of paid work after childbirth) do not seem to pay this particular penalty, probably because they have less wage progression to miss out on.

… and working low numbers of hours is associated with less wage progression 

  • There is no immediate drop in hourly wages on average when women reduce their hours to 20 or fewer per week. Instead, the lower hourly wages observed in lower-hours jobs appear to be the cumulative effect of a lack of wage progression.
  • The hourly wages of women working half-time (or less) appear to do no more than change in line with economy-wide wages. In other words, the wages of these women appear not to benefit at all from increases in labour market experience. This is true for high- and low- educated alike.

Da sind interessante Zahlen bei. Beispielsweise das 20 Jahre nach der Geburt des Kindes die durchschnittliche Frau mit Kind 4 Jahre weniger Berufserfahrung hat als der  durchschnittliche Mann.

Näher an dem zuhause:


There has been substantial convergence in labor market fortunes of men and women in most high-income countries since WW2, driven by both gender-specific and gender-neutral forces.

However important gender gaps still remain to date in employment and earnings.

The presence of children is one key driver of remaining gender inequalities.

Women especially value job attributes that make careers better compatible with domestic responsibilities, including flexible work schedules and shorter commutes, which may translate into worse earnings opportunities.

Auch insoweit nichts Neues. Aber eben sehr relevant.

Und auch zu dem Teilzeitjobs ist eine Studie ganz interessant:

Figure 2. Percentage of men and women working in the top 20% most productive firms (by GVA per worker)

Source: Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings linked to Annual Respondents Database, 2010-2014.
Note: Includes workers aged 18-64 in non-financial private sector firms.

The data do not follow the same individuals over their lifetimes, as other data sources have allowed us to do when looking at the gender pay gap. It is possible that some of the differences by age reflect differences between generations: older people in the sample entered the workforce in earlier decades, when gender differences in the labour market were more pronounced. However, the widening of the firm gap around childbearing age is striking and mirrors the evolution of the gender pay gap.

Previous IFS research has shown that the average hourly wage gap between men and women starts to widen after the birth of the first child. Before having children, women are paid 7-13 percent less than men per hour; this gradually increases to 30 percent in the 13 years after childbirth before flattening out again. Gender commuting patterns evolve in a similar way. After childbirth, average commuting times among women start to fall (which implies that women start to work closer to home), and this fall continues for around a decade after.

The evolution of gender gaps in pay, commuting and firm productivity over the life course may well be related. Previous IFS research has shown that part of the gender pay gap is explained by mothers moving to part-time work, which offers few prospects for wage progression. Childcare requirements may constrain mothers to work closer to home, which means that they have less access to productive, high-paying firms than fathers casting a wider net. And the need for part-time or flexible work arrangements may further restrict the set of firms mothers can choose from, limiting their pay and opportunities for pay progression.

Research from other countries, including PortugalFrance and Germany, has suggested that differences between men and women in the firms they work for may explain a larger part of the gender pay gap in those countries than differences in wages within firms. Current IFS research is examining these possible drivers in the UK in greater depth. We hope to shed more light on the causes of the gender pay gap and the potential for policies to reduce it.

Frauen suchen sich also Firmen, bei denen sie eine bessere Work-Life Balance haben. Das aber ist mit einer sehr hohen Produktivität der Firma oft nicht möglich.

However, even before they have had their first child, women are paid less than similarly-qualified men. At age 25, the average male graduate earns 5% more per year than the average female graduate. This is despite the fact that women are more likely to get a first class degree or a 2:1 than men. By age 30 – before most graduates start having children – the gender pay gap in annual earnings stands at 25%.

Der Gender Pay Gap setzt also früh an, bereits mit dem ersten Job. Wohlgemerkt nicht für den gleichen Job, sondern im Schnitt der jeweiligen sehr unterschiedlichen Jobs.

What explains the gender pay gap in graduates’ early careers? A plausible explanation is that men and women choose to study very different subjects at university, with men being more likely to study subjects which lead to highly paid jobs.

The financial return to getting a degree – how much more a graduate earns compared to an otherwise similar non-graduate – varies enormously across subjects. Previous IFS research estimates that studying economics at university boosts women’s pay by 75% by age 30; this is more than ten times the return to studying creative arts (7.2%). However, women make up nearly two-thirds of creative arts graduates but less than a third of economics graduates.

Wer BWL studiert erhält mit 30 ein  75% höheres Gehalt, wer Creative Arts (Kunst?) studiert, der erhält hingegen bis dreißig nur einen sehr kleinen Gehaltszuwachs (7.2%)

In general, women are overrepresented in degree subjects with low financial returns (Figure 2). There are some exceptions – for example, medicine and law both have average or slightly above average shares of female students and very high returns.

Figure 1. Estimated returns to degrees and the share of female students, by subject

Source: J. Britton, L. Dearden, L. van der Erve and B. Waltmann, ‘The impact of undergraduate degrees on lifetime earnings’, Institute for Fiscal Studies, 2020,

Eine Grafik, die man wohl niemals in einer feministischen Studie sehen wird, in der es um den Gender Pay Gap geht. Dort sieht man, dass viele von Frauen bevorzugte Jobs nicht hoch bezahlt sind, Frauen sie aber trotzdem wählen.

Interessant wäre eine weitere Aufschlüsselung etwa mit 45 und 60 bei den „returns“

Notes: Female shares were obtained by mapping gender shares in principal subjects for full-time students studying for standard undergraduate degrees from published HESA data to CAH2 subject groups. Returns were estimated using the Department for Education’s LEO dataset, which combines school, university and tax records for all students who have sat GCSEs since 2002. The estimation sample consists of students from the 2002 GCSE cohort who achieved at at least 5 A*-C at GCSE and have a Key Stage 5 record. Age 30 earnings data was taken from 2016/17 tax records. Returns were estimated using a regression model that controls for attainment at Key Stage 2, 4 and 5; Key Stage 5 subject; and other background characteristics such as socio-economic group, region, and ethnicity. The ranking of degrees is very similar using estimated returns for men. Size of dots reflects number of graduates by subject.

Differences in degree subject choices explain most of the gender pay gap soon after graduation (Figure 3). Of the 5% gap in annual earnings at age 25, 2.9 percentage points (55%) can be accounted for by university subjects, with A-Level subject choices making up a further 0.2 percentage points (5%). Subject choice continues to contribute between 3 and 5 percentage points to the gender pay gap over graduates’ early careers. But over this period, other factors lead to a widening of the gender pay gap, so that by age 30, subject choice explains only a fifth of the total gender pay gap. Other factors that come into play could include motherhood, gender differences in attitudes towards riskrecognition for group workhours worked, the propensity to bargain over wages and ask for promotions, and discrimination.

Figure 2. Decomposition of the graduate gender earnings gap

Source: J. Britton, L. Dearden and B. Waltmann, ‘The returns to undergraduate degrees by socio-economic group and ethnicity‘, Institute for Fiscal Studies, 2021,

Hier sieht man das die Berufswahl einen gewissen Teil erklärt, aber dann andere Faktoren, beispielsweise die Arbeitsstunden dazu kommen und ein höheres Gewicht erhalten.

Notes: Percentage gap in mean earnings between men and women who attended university from the Department for Education’s LEO dataset, which combines school, university and tax records for all students who have sat GCSEs since 2002. The sample includes students from the 2002-2004 GCSE cohorts. Earnings data at ages 25-30 was taken from 2013/14 to 2016/17 tax records. Mature and part-time students were dropped from the sample, as were people with earnings of less than £1,000 in the tax year. The earnings gap was decomposed using a two-fold Kitagawa-Oaxaca-Blinder decomposition (Kitagawa, 1955; Oaxaca, 1973; Blinder, 1973). Following Neumark (1988), the non-discriminatory reference coefficient vector was estimated using a pooled regression over both men and women (including an indicator variable for gender). Results were broadly robust to using the coefficients for either men or women as reference coefficients instead.


Money isn’t – and shouldn’t be – the only factor used to decide degree subjects. But we should be concerned if information on the returns to different subjects isn’t easily available to young people, and if the large differences in subject choice (arts for girls, economics for boys) are driven as much by gender stereotypes as by true preferences. When it comes to a subject like economics, which delivers the very highest financial return for female (and male) graduates, there is an additional concern that many students cannot access the subject at all because it is not offered in their school.

When the company data are published and there is debate on what firms should do, it is important to remember that the seeds of the gender pay gap are sown early. More needs to be done to educate and inform young people about subject choices at A level and university, particularly in a system like the UK where subject choices narrow at an early stage and where decisions taken early can have long-lasting effects.

Eigentlich ja eh erstaunlich, dass da so wenig drüber informiert wird. Wer den Gender Pay Gap bekämpfen will könnte ja beispielsweise ein System einrichten, bei der jeder Frau, die sich für „Creative Arts“ einschreibt, ein Brief geschrieben wird, dass sie zum Gender Pay Gap beiträgt und gefälligst Computing studieren soll.