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Women’s pay is 10.9% lower then mens’, but Italy’s gender gap is less penalizing than the European average

by Serena Uccello

The same tasks, the same contract, often the same degree, even the same age. In many cases, the desks are next to each other. The only difference is gender: male, female. A difference worth €3,260 a year.

Yes, today in Italy, a man has a gross salary of €29,985 a year, while a woman’s remuneration is €26,725. This means that men earn 12.2% more than women, and, conversely, women earn 10.9% less than men.

Therefore “compared to 2014, the gender pay gap grew extensively: the remuneration of men increased by 0.6%, while that of women fell slightly (-0.7%),” as shown in the 2016 Gender Gap Report realized by Job Pricing.

So, the figures give us confirmation and a surprise. Let’s start with the latter: it is not true that the Italian female workers are penalized the most. Out of 31 countries analyzed through the data issued by Eurostat, Italy ranked 8th.

In particular, “it emerges that the main European countries were placed well above 10%, highlighting how virtuous Italy is from this perspective, especially when considering that the average gender pay gap in the EU is at 16.3% (28 countries, in 2013),” says the report.

Browsing through the list of countries, we find out that French women (ranked 18th) are not in a better position than the Italians’.

If we look at the rest of the world, and focus only on the pay aspect, we find that, according to the Global Gender Gap Report (a study that gives a quantitative picture of the magnitude and scope of gender disparity in the world), “the best results were seen in the areas of health, life expectancy and level of education: in this respect, there is almost absolute parity between men and women in many countries of the world.”

In this ranking “Italy came 41th out of 145 countries analyzed, with an index of 0.725 (0 indicates total inequality, 1 total gender equality).”

Returning to the expected results, we can see that in Italy, education does not save women from the pay gap: today, in fact, the women holding a degree are 2,391,544, or 246,349 more than men and up 55.6% over 2004 when they were 1,537,155 (the men with a degree only grew by 32.9%).

As for the career, the higher the level of the profile, the higher the pay differential. A male executive earns €11,000 more than a female one (from €105,983 down to €94,750). This is a part of the remuneration policies where the variable component has a great impact on the total salary.

However, the situation does not improve if we look at the FAR (fixed annual reward) “in the four contractual qualifications: we can see a wider gap in the remuneration of office workers,” said the report.

“In this case, men earn 2.4% more than women, with an absolute gap of over €2,500. Women are numerically superior among the office workers, but the average salary diverges more than in the other contractual qualifications,” reads the report.

In the area of personal services, two workers out of ten are men, eight are women. In the building sector, this proportion is reversed.

Surprisingly, “the largest gender salary gap is in the areas of services and financial services, while in the construction, agriculture and utility sectors, on average, women earn more than men: here, though, the female component is really limited, and the sector is characterized by the prevalence of worker profiles,” says the study.