Gender pay gap Ireland wider for women with degree

An international report shows that the gender pay gap in Ireland is wider for women with a college degree.

While the finding suggests the difference is bigger for working women in the final decade before retirement, the average annual earnings of Irish women are 71% of those of men.

This was the 13th-lowest percentage across 37 OECD countries and higher than just six other EU countries, with relative earnings averages of 73% in the OECD and 74% in 22 EU nations.

The figure was lowest in Ireland for women aged 55 to 64, at just 67% compared to an EU average of 75%.

However, Irish women aged 35 to 44 earn the OECD average of 74% of men’s earnings, just 1% less than the EU average.

The figures in OECD’s Education at a Glance 2016 report also raise questions about the values of higher education to women, as the 71% of men’s earnings received by those with a third-level qualification compare to a 73% figure when relating the pay of women to men with no Leaving Certificate.

While earnings may be lower for either gender with lower qualifications, it suggests the pay gap is a bigger for female college graduates.

The 74% figure for women aged 35 to 44 is only 1% higher than the 73% relative pay for people whose highest qualification is Leaving Certificate or further education like post-Leaving Certificate courses.

The OECD said that one of the leading explanations for gender earning gaps relates to the fact that women continue to do most housework and family care in many countries. “Due to these household commitments, women may seek less competitive career paths and greater flexibility at work, likely leading to lower earnings than men with the same educational commitment,” the report said.

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