The trend is broken: Wage differences between women and men are increasing

The pay gap between women and men has steadily decreased over time. But now something has happened in the Swedish labor market.

Last year, the trend reversed, according to a report from the Mediation Institute, which annually analyzes wage developments from a gender equality perspective. Compared with 2020, the wage gap increased by 0.2 percentage points in 2021.

– We can not yet determine whether the pandemic only temporarily affected the development or whether it meant a step back in the gender equality work that can take a long time to repair, writes the Mediation Institute’s director general Irene Wennemo in a press release.

Differences in salary can be due to a variety of factors. And the differences look different depending on which sector you are looking at.

Increases sharply among privately employed workers

Over time, the wage gap has continued to narrow in the public sector and among civil servants in the private sector. But in the private sector there is an increase.

– Private workers were the ones hardest hit by redundancies during the pandemic and it is in this group that the wage gap increases sharply. Many of the industries that have the most difficulty finding employees today are those that lost the most jobs during the pandemic, says Irene Wennemo.

According to the Mediation Institute, the postponed contract movement in 2020 has also affected the statistics. Wage revisions have since deviated from the usual pattern, which is said to make it more difficult than in a long time to compare wage developments for different groups in the labor market.

At the same time, the pandemic has also caused labor shortages in several industries, most clearly in healthcare but also in other publicly funded activities and in industry.

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Åsa Regnér, on how gender equality has been affected during the pandemic, what bright spots there are and how the world should continue to work with gender equality. Photo: SVT

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