Even with the same qualifications, women still earn 10% less than men. What are the causes of the discriminating wage gap between men and women, and at what point in time in the educational pathway and working career does it arise?

Lay summary
Women continue to earn 20-30% less than men. Statistically, 50% of the differences in pay between men and women can be explained by differences in work experience and qualifica-tions that arise in the course of working life. This means that no differences should be found at the time of career entry. Yet there are indications that there is a wage gap already when men and women enter employment, even with the same education and training. A question that has not been studied before is whether and to what extent there is a discriminating wage gap between men and women in Switzerland even at career entry and at what point in time this gap arises.

The project studies gender inequalities during a formative phase of life: the transition from school to work. The focus is on pay differences between women and men who have com-pleted vocational education and training and enter the labour market for the first time. In addition, the project will examine whether the wage gap is explainable or discriminatory (that is, based on gender alone).
With the aid of TREE (Transitions from Education to Employment), the first national longitudinal survey on the transition from school to work, the researchers will find out whether the differences in pay are the result of people’s own decisions to select a specific training position and/or due to the allocation of such positions by the company providing vocational training. The researchers will also conduct a survey of companies to discover whether female candidates for well-paid jobs are discriminated against despite equal qualifications.

Clarification of the causes of wage gaps and the stage at which they arise will provide point-ers towards useful measures against wage discrimination. In addition, the findings of this project will for the first time enable comparisons between Switzerland and other countries that are already further ahead in this area of vocational education research.