The paper examines how patterns of gender inequality change with new cohorts entering the labour market. It is well established that the gender wage gap in Britain has narrowed considerably since the 1970’s. One of the explanations refers to the fact that women enjoy wider participation in education and start their careers at higher levels of occupational attainment. Consequently, the gender wage gap has seen a decline. However, more research is needed to establish how this equalization in terms of educational chances works out over the career.
The research uses a lifecourse perspective on barriers to gender equality in the labour market. It examines the evolution of the gender wage gap in different cohorts of British labour market entrants. The main question concerns why the gender wage gap grows over the professional lifetime. Moreover, the comparison of different cohorts of labour market entrants allows us to investigate whether the gender wage evolution has become more equal for more recent cohorts.
The results are based on change-score regression analyses, as well as random effects models of the British Household Panel Survey and show that the start wages of men and women have indeed become more equal over time. However, a substantial gender wage gap arises within the first 10 years in the labour market, due to the tendency of women to have interruptions in the career and smaller promotion chances. There are some signs that this trend is slightly declining for the more recent birth cohorts, but this is entirely explained by changes in the employment situation for the more recent cohorts, rather than a reduction in the residual gender effect.
Leen Vandecasteele (University of Manchester)
Date & time:
27 Jun 2011 15:00 pm
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