Declining Gender Differences in Low-Wage Employment in Germany, Austria and Switzerland

In: Comparative Sociology
Nina-Sophie Fritsch Institute for Sociology and Social Research, Vienna University of Economics and Business Austria

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Roland Verwiebe Department of Sociology, University of Potsdam Germany

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Bernd Liedl Department of Sociology, University of Vienna Austria

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Although the low-wage employment sector has enlarged over the past 20 years in the context of pronounced flexibility in restructured labor markets, gender differences in low-wage employment have declined in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. In this article, the authors examine reasons for declining gender inequalities, and most notably concentrate on explanations for the closing gender gap in low-wage employment risks. In addition, they identify differences and similarities among the German-speaking countries. Based on regression techniques and decomposition analyses (1996-2016), the authors find significantly decreasing labor market risks for the female workforce. Detailed analysis reveals that (1) the concrete positioning in the labor market shows greater importance in explaining declining gender differences compared to personal characteristics. (2) The changed composition of the labor markets has prevented the low-wage sector from increasing even more in general and works in favor of the female workforce and their low-wage employment risks in particular.

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