Gender Issues: Big and Small Wage Gaps

by Elaine Schwartz    •    Jul 8, 2013    •    966 Views

If you want to avoid a gender gap in the return from higher education, then you could live in Greece, Spain or Turkey. By contrast, Austria, Korea, Norway, the UK and US have the biggest difference between men and women when we look at the impact of more school.

But, as you might expect, it gets a lot more complicated.

Where the gap is big, as in the US, the earnings benefits are too. On the flip side, where the return is more equal, it tends to be much lower. As for an average, predictably, men receive a larger private return than women. In selected OECD countries, for higher education, the average male’s extra return is $330,000 (USD) while the female’s is $240,000 (USD). The following table from a voluminous OECD 2013 report on education provides a lot more detail. (The closer you look, the more interesting it becomes.)

Gender Issues Wage Gaps in Selected Countries

Gender Issues Selected Countries Gender Wage Gap

For another perspective on the gender wage gap, you can see below that Spain is at the top for equality. The OECD chart from which I got my data is much more extensive.

Gender Issues pay gap from OECD study


Sources and resources: To check out the wealth of facts on worldwide education, do look at “Education at a Glance 2013” for the 34 OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development), member countries, 2 non-OECD countries (Brazil and Russian Federation), and selected other G20 countries. Then, to read a briefer overview, Quartz  discusses the report. Finally, for a slightly different perspective, econlife looked at a Brookings comparison of the return from higher education with other investments.

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