As quickly as they go away CEGEP or college, girls already earn lower than males

MONTREAL, June 9, 2022 /CNW Telbec/ – “Although more young Quebecois women today earn a post-secondary degree than men, they still earn less than they do, even when we isolate many factors that contribute to inequalities in the market of work, like having or not having children,” says Emna Braham, deputy director of the Institut du Québec. This clear finding comes from a study released today by the Institut du Québec and the FutureSkills Research Lab at the University of Toronto as part of Education + Skills Research Initiative.

More specifically, this study reveals that the income gap between men and women with similar backgrounds and who work full-time is, on average, 9% and that, from the first year after obtaining a higher degree (college or university ) . Worse still, that gap widens not just in the first few years of a career, but rises to 16% five years after graduation.

Among the highest paid graduates, that is, the 10% with the highest income, the income gap between men and women is even greater: 13% one year after graduation and 19% five years later.

“To carry out this analysis, we had access to unpublished data that allowed us to follow the evolution of the educational path of graduates over time and cross this information with their work income”, explains Annie Pan, co-author of the study. We were also able to isolate the effect that certain characteristics may have on income, such as the level and area of ​​study, the sector of activity or the presence or absence of dependent children in the household”.
The glass ceiling, throughout the career

Furthermore, this report tells us that from the earliest years of their careers, women have a harder time climbing the ladder and ultimately reaching the higher-paying positions. “So, contrary to popular belief, women not only face the mid-to-late career ‘glass ceiling’ to reach higher, higher-paying positions, but they also have to face this headwind throughout their careers. professionals”, says Emna Braham.

Employer choice also appears to play a role in the equation, as few of them work for well-paying organizations and often face business practices that do not promote career development. Another observation: having or not having children, the anticipation of possible family responsibilities (father, caregiver) and mental overload also seem to interfere with the choices they make, in particular by favoring employers and sectors of activities that promote better work-family balance .

A set of measures to be implemented to reduce inequalities

While income gaps between men and women in Quebec narrowed significantly between the 1960s and 2010s, their progression has stalled since then. These results clearly show that the policies implemented to reduce them, in particular pay equity laws and family policies (day care services, parental leave), are not sufficient to correct the situation.

In light of these observations, the authors propose these courses of action to reduce economic inequalities between men and women:

For governments:

  • Modernize family policies, aiming at a more equitable sharing of family responsibilities between men and women. One option to consider would be to offer more weeks of parental leave to parents who want to spend more time alone with their children. This type of leave would promote the development of their sense of competence towards the child, a better understanding of the workload and, ultimately, a better sharing of domestic and family work;
  • Adapt assistance to companies to better support the human resources management function to 1) implement inclusion and diversity measures, 2) promote career development, in particular through vocational training for women;
  • Set an example by ensuring female succession and promoting parity in the choice of directors of government companies and public and quasi-public organizations.

For businesses

  • Establish career support programs to ensure female succession to the highest and best-paid positions;
  • Test innovative wage-setting approaches that aim to penalize women less.

For educational institutions

  • Fill numeracy gaps between men and women, in particular by developing more inclusive learning methods.

Significant differences in income, even after taking individual characteristics into account

Coefficient of interest that represents the percentage impact of being a woman on annual income from work, taking into account the following characteristics: area and level of education, employer’s sector of activity, average number of elderly children under 17 years of age, marital status, immigration status , age at graduation, presence of disability and multiple jobs.

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