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New research project on how working careers and occupational structures are linked to gender pay gap

Ministry of Social Affairs and Health
Publication date 18.5.2022 14.03
Press release 124/2022
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A research project entitled Working careers and occupational segregation behind the gender pay gap, which is funded by the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, studies the career development of women and men and changes in occupational structures in light of long-term statistical data. In particular, it examines how career changes and changes in duties are connected to the gender pay gap.

The difference between the average earnings of women and men is on average 16 per cent in the whole labour market. This difference has narrowed slowly. There are many factors behind the gender pay gap, and one of the main factors is gender segregation in working life. This segregation is strong in Finland, and the situation has remained more or less unchanged for a long time. Segregation occurs between and within professional fields and in occupations and duties. Working careers and career development also differ according to gender. The project, launched in May, studies the connection between segregation and the pay gap.

So far, only very little research has been conducted in Finland to examine how career development and changes in occupational structures affect the gender pay gap. The research project launched by the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health and carried out by Statistics Finland will provide information on these effects. The project involves conducting a statistical review based on extensive data collected over a long period of time.

Changes in career segregation and occupational structures are reflected in pay

Earlier studies show that women face more obstacles in their working careers than men. The research project, running from 2022 to 2024, focuses particularly on the working careers of salaried employees in the industrial sector at the beginning of and during their careers. It also sheds light on when the working careers of women and men become segregated and how gender-segregated career paths, for example changes in duties, affect their pay. 

The project also involves carrying out an extensive review of changes in occupational structures and their effects on the pay gap in the private sector, the municipal sector and the central government. The review will provide information about the placement of women and men in different occupations, changes in this placement and the effects of such changes on their pay.    

The research project will lay a foundation for developing working careers and occupational structures on a more equal basis. The project is part of the joint Equal Pay Programme of the Government and the central labour market organisations. 


Outi Viitamaa-Tervonen, Project Manager, Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, tel. +358 295163230, [email protected]
Pekka Laine, Senior Researcher, Statistics Finland, tel. +358 295 513 493, [email protected]

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