Danish study concludes women earn less than men for same jobs

A Danish study has concluded that women are often paid less than men for doing the same job.

Danish study concludes women earn less than men for same jobs
Men and women at a shared workspace. A Danish study has concluded that women are paid less than men for the same professions and jobs. Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

The study, from Copenhagen Business School, analysed the salaries of 1.2 million people in Denmark aged 30-55 years.

On average, women earn 7 percent less despite having the same profession and same job as their male colleagues, researchers concluded.

CBS professor Lasse Folke Henriksen, one of the report’s co-authors, said the results suggests that the overall disparity between the wages of men and women in Denmark is not solely a result of the pay grades in the professions in which they work.

“The equality debate has for some time focused on wage hierarchy in female-dominated and male-dominated professions,” he said.

“But this suggests there is also a wage gap between men and women with the same job function,” he said.

The study does not specify reasons for the wage gap. Henriksen said further research will address this, but existing research offers potential explanations.

“Family relations mean a lot. Women who have children put more work into home care and so on. That could help to explain it,” he said.

Denmark is not the only country looked at by the study.

The study uses data registered from 2015 and finds an overall wage gap for all countries of 18 percent, with women therefore earning considerably less than men on average.

Along with France, Denmark has the smallest wage gap (7 percent) of all countries analysed. Nordic neighbours Norway and Sweden are close behind with 9 and 8 percent respectively.

The largest wage gap found by the study was 26 percent in Japan.

“So Denmark is well placed,” Henriksen said.

“We also have analyses from further in the past so we can see that the wage gap has shrunk over the years. That’s very positive, and that has also happened in other countries,” he said.

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.


Copenhagen Municipality to trial four-day working week

Selected municipal staff in Copenhagen will soon be able to choose to distribute their weekly working hours over four days in a new trial scheme.

Copenhagen Municipality to trial four-day working week

The city government’s residents’ council (borgerrepræsentation) has voted to bring in a trail scheme that will provide for four-day working weeks from 2024, according to local media TV2 Kosmopol.

The decision means that shorter weeks – with additional hours fitted into the four working days – will be an option at several departments in the municipality, which is Denmark’s largest local government with 45,000 staff.

The trial will go ahead provided a majority accepts it as part of next year’s budget, which will be finalised in the autumn.

It will take the form of an initial one-year trial scheme with the option of extension to also include 2025.

Trade union Djøf told news wire Ritzau it took a positive view of the project.

“Many people appreciate having an extra day when they can pick up the kids early or get some errands done which you need time for during the day,” chairperson Sara Vergo said.

A survey by the trade union last year found that 64 percent of staff and 65 percent of managers would consider implementing a four-day working week in some form.

The Copenhagen Municipality proposal went through without a vote because all parties were in favour.

The decision does not mean city employees will be working fewer hours. Instead, they will distribute their existing hours over four days.

The municipality would not be allowed by law to pay staff for a full 37-hour week if they have only worked 30 hours, it said.

While parties agreed on the trial, there was some disagreement over its exact form, TV2 Kosmopol writes.

The Social Democratic and Socialist People’s Party (SF) representatives wanted the trial to be implemented in April, rather than waiting until next year.

Copenhagen is not the first Danish municipality to experiment with a four-day week. Other local governments have in recent years trialled shorter weeks and a higher degree of flexibility over staff hours.

“We know that there’s a relatively large stress crisis in Denmark and that one of the remedies against this is to spend less time at work and more flexible working hours,” Troels Christian Jakobsen of the Alternative party, who tabled the proposal for the Copenhagen scheme, said to Ritzau.

“We didn’t succeed on this occasion on getting fewer working hours. There are a load of rules that prevent that,” he said.

“But we have certainly met our goal on giving a more flexible framework for the work and we have a strong sense that this can help to improve job satisfaction,” he said.