Gender Inequalities at Labor Market Entry: A Comparative View from eduLIFE Project

Triventi M., Skopek J. , Kosyakova Y., Buchholz S., and Blossfeld H.-P.


This article provides an overview of the results from a cross-nationally comparative project analyzing gender differences and inequalities at labor market entry. Women’s relative gains in educational attainment and the expansion of the service sector suggest that gender inequalities in occupational returns are diminishing or even reversing. In assessing gender differences at labor market entry, we look at a phase of the life course when women’s family roles are still of minor importance. Conceptually, we distinguish between horizontal segregation and inequalities in vertical outcomes. The project was based on 13 in-depth case studies contributed by a network of scholars analyzing countries with different institutional, socio-economic, and cultural settings. The findings demonstrate that occupational gender segregation is still relatively marked among recent cohorts, though slightly decreasing over time in several countries. In terms of vertical inequalities, the case studies consistently revealed that while women enter more prestigious jobs than men in most countries, there is a female disadvantage in economic returns among recent labor market entrants. In addition, we found mixed evidence on the variations of gender equality at labor market entry across countries with different institutional characteristics.

In: Comparative Social Research, Vol. 31, Gender Segregation in Vocational Education – Institutional and Individual Perspectives, 25-51.