Gender pay gap statistics
- Data from March 2017. Most recent data: Further Eurostat information, Main tables and Database Planned update of the article: March 2018.
The unadjusted gender pay gap (GPG) is an important indicator used within the European employment strategy (EES) to monitor imbalances in wages between men and women. It is defined as the difference between the average gross hourly earnings of men and women expressed as a percentage of the average gross hourly earnings of men.
- 1 Main statistical findings
- 2 Data sources and availability
- 3 Context
- 4 See also
- 5 Further Eurostat information
- 6 External links
- 7 Notes
Main statistical findings
Gender pay gap levels
The gender pay gap varies significantly across EU Member States
For the economy as a whole, in 2015, women's gross hourly earnings were on average 16.3 % below those of men in the European Union (EU-28) and 16.8% in the euro area (EA-19). Across Member States, the gender pay gap varied by 21 percentage points, ranging from 5.5 % in Italy and Luxembourg to 26.9 % in Estonia (Figure 1).
There are various reasons for the existence and size of a gender pay gap and they may differ strongly between Member States, e.g. kind of jobs held by women, consequences of breaks in career or part-time work due to childbearing, decisions in favour of family life, etc. Moreover, the proportion of women working and their characteristics differ significantly between countries, particularly because of institutions and attitudes governing the balance between private and work life which impact on the careers and thus the pay of women.
By working profile (part-time versus full-time)
Pay gaps can also be analysed from the perspective of part-time or full-time employment. Information at this level of detail is not available, however, for all EU Member States (Figure 2). In 2015, the gender pay gap for part-time workers varied from -1.1 % in Germany to 27.7 % in Portugal. A negative gender pay gap means that on average women's gross hourly earnings are higher than those of men. For full-time workers, pay gaps varied also widely in the EU Member States, ranging from -0.4 % in Italy to 20.1 % in Latvia.
The gender pay gap is generally much lower for young employees
The gender pay gap is generally much lower for new labour market entrants and tends to widen with age. However, those differences over age groups can have different patterns across the countries. The gender pay gap might increase with age as a result of the career interruptions women experience during their working life, particularly older women unable to benefit from specific equality measures which did not yet exist when they started to work.
By economic activity
The gender pay gap in the financial and insurance activities is higher than in the business economy as a whole
After analysing gender pay gaps at the level of the whole economy (except public administration and defence and compulsory social security), a breakdown for the different sectors of the economy also reveals interesting patterns (Table 2).
In all EU Member States, except Spain, the gender pay gap in the financial and insurance activities (NACE Rev. 2 section K) is higher than in the business economy as a whole (NACE Rev. 2 aggregate B to N). In 2015, the gender pay gap in the financial and insurance activities varied from 18.1 % in Spain to 40.9 % in the Czech Republic. Within the business economy as a whole, the highest gender pay gap was recorded in Estonia (26.9 %) and the lowest in Romania (6.4 %).
It is also interesting to note the economic sectors for which a significant number of Member States recorded negative gender gaps. Ten Member States registered negative gender pay gaps both in the water supply, sewerage, waste management and remediation activities (NACE Rev. 2 section E) and in the construction industry (NACE Rev. 2 section F).
Pay gaps and economic control
In 2015, the majority of the EU countries (for which data are available) recorded a higher gender pay gap (in absolute terms) in the private sector than in the public sector. This might be due to the fact that within the public sector, in most countries, employees are protected by collective pay agreements and other similar contracts establishing pay. The gender pay gap varied in the private sector from 6.0 % in Romania to 24.6 % in Germany, and in the public sector from -6.8 % in Cyprus to 22.5 % in Bulgaria.
Data sources and availability
From reference year 2006 onwards, the new unadjusted gender pay gap is based on the methodology of the Structure of earnings survey (SES) according to Regulation (EC) No 530/1999. The SES is carried out with a four-yearly periodicity. The most recent reference years available for the SES are 2010 and 2014. Eurostat computed the gender pay gap for these years on this basis. For the intermediate years (2011-2013) countries provide to Eurostat gender pay gap estimates benchmarked on the SES results.
The gender pay gap in unadjusted form represents the difference between average gross hourly earnings of male paid employees and of female paid employees as a percentage of average gross hourly earnings of male paid employees.
The indicator has been defined as unadjusted (e.g. not adjusted according to individual characteristics that may explain part of the earnings difference) because it should give an overall picture of gender inequalities in terms of pay. The gender pay gap is the consequence of various inequalities (structural differences) in the labour market such as different working pattern, differences in institutional mechanisms and systems of wage setting. Consequently, the pay gap is linked to a number of legal, social and economic factors which go far beyond the single issue of equal pay for equal work.
While the size of the unadjusted gender pay gap certainly gives an indication of the situation women face in the labour market, it generally makes sense to take into account other labour market indicators as well to get a fuller picture of the possible reasons underlying the pay gap in a particular Member State.
The gender pay gap is also a key indicator in the framework of the Strategic engagement for gender equality 2016-2019 of the European Commission. In its work programme, the Commission has reaffirmed its commitment to continue its work to promote equality between men and women. One of the thematic priority areas is reducing the gender pay, earnings and pension gaps and thus fighting poverty among women.
Further Eurostat information
- Analysis of low wages in Europe - Statistics in focus 48/2012
- Labour market statistics - Pocket book
- The life of women and men in Europe - A statistical portrait
- Gender pay gap in unadjusted form (tsdsc340)
- Gender pay gap in unadjusted form (earn_grgpg)
- Gender pay gap in unadjusted form - Nace rev.2 (earn_grgpg2)
- Gender pay gap in unadjusted form - Nace rev.1.1 (earn_grgpg1)
- Gender pay gap in unadjusted form (earn_grgpg)
- Equality, see:
- Gender equality
Methodology / Metadata
- Gender pay gap in unadjusted form - Nace Rev. 2 (ESMS metadata file - earn_grgpg2_esms)
- Structure of earnings survey (ESMS metadata file - main indicators)
- The unadjusted gender pay gap in the European Union (Eurostat in UNECE Work Session on Gender Statistics)
Source data for tables and figures on this page (MS Excel)
- Here defined as industry, construction and services except public administration and defence and compulsory social security: NACE Rev. 2 Sections B to S with the exception of Section O.