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The Gender Pay Gap Begins to Increase Sharply at Age of 30

DIW Weekly Report 10 / 2020, S. 75-82

Annekatrin Schrenker, Aline Zucco

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The gender pay gap increases with age: While the average gross hourly wage gap between male and female 30-year-olds is nine percent, the gap triples to 28 percent by the age of 50. This stark increase is due to differences in employment behavior in the decades between the ages of 30 and 50. Beginning at age 30, women often switch to part-time work to be able to provide childcare, whereas men tend to increase the number of working hours at the same age. Because part-time work is, on average, paid more poorly per hour and part-time workers less frequently hold leadership positions, the average wages of women between 30 and 50 years of age remain virtually constant. In contrast, the average wages per hour for men continue to increase with age. Measures focusing on improving work-life balance must be taken to combat this pay gap. Such measures include restructuring work environments by allowing two part-time employees to share one executive position and increasing the amount of months of parental leave earmarked to one partner.

JEL-Classification: J16;J31;J13;J11
Keywords: Gender Pay Gap, Part-time employment

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