NEWS » Italy's salary gap between men and women is the lowest in the EU

Italy's salary gap between men and women is the lowest in the EU

Italy's salary gap between men and women is the lowest in the EU. It was revealed by Eurostat Publication “The life of women and men in Europe – a statistical portrait aimed at comparing women and men in their daily lives.  It said that in 2015 women's average gross per-hour earnings were 16.3% lower for the EU as a hole. In Italy it was only 5.5% making it the lowest alongside that of Luxembourg.

However, before rejoicing for the good news, we need to make an important point: Eurostat referred to the average hourly gross salary, and if we consider the annual gross income, Italy loses many positions in the rank. This was shown by JobPricing’s Gender Gap Report 2017, according to which Italy is at the 50th place in the world for salary gap between men and women, many positions below France, Finland and Spain.

Furthermore, if for health, life expectancy and education the distances between males and females are almost zero, in the voice of economic opportunities Italy is at 117th position, and if we consider equal payroll it is even 127th. JobPricing's Gender Gap Report 2017 adds that in Italy, men typically receive a gross annual salary of 30,676 euros, while women earn 27,228 on average, that is 12.7% less in the case of women. Compared to 2015, the pay gap grew slightly: men's wages rose by 2.3%, while women's wages rose by 1.9%.

As far as the Eurostat Publication “The life of women and men in Europe” is concerned, European women earned 16.3 % less than men when comparing their average gross hourly earnings.  The largest differences were observed in Estonia (26.9 %), the Czech Republic (22.5 %), Germany (22.0 %), Austria (21.7 %) and the United Kingdom (20.8 %). On the other hand, the smallest differences in earnings between women and men were found in Luxembourg and Italy (both 5.5 %), Romania (5.8 %), Belgium (6.5 %) and Poland (7.7 %).

The pay gap is linked to a number of cultural, legal, social and economic factors which go far beyond the single issue of equal pay for equal work. Part of the earnings difference can be explained by individual characteristics of employed men and women (e.g. experience and education) and by sectoral and occupational gender segregations (e.g., there are more men than women in certain sectors/occupations with, on average, higher earnings compared to other sectors/occupations).

What is more, when comparing hourly earnings for different professions, in all nine groups of professions listed, women earned less than men on average in the EU in 2014. This was also the case in all Member States, with very few exceptions. The profession with the largest differences in hourly earnings (23 % lower earnings for women than for men) were managers. The smallest differences were observed for two of the professions with the lowest salaries: clerical support workers (office clerks, secretaries etc.) and service and sales workers (both 8 % lower). 

Giulia Lombardo

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