Women in Work Index 2018

What's driving the gender pay gap and what gains can be made from closing it?

#womeninwork

Summary

This year’s update of the Women in Work Index shows that the OECD has continued its gradual progress towards greater female economic empowerment. The Nordic countries, particularly Iceland, Sweden and Norway, continue to occupy the top positions on the Index. 

We also explore the drivers of the gender pay gap across the OECD in this year's update. We find that government spending on family benefits, the share of female entrepreneurs, maternity leave and occupational segregation help explain the gender pay gap.  The gains from closing the gap are substantial: achieving pay parity in the OECD could increase total female earnings by US$2 trillion.

View the key findings below for highlights from our research and explore the results further using our interactive data tool. We provide more detailed analysis and commentary in the full report which you can download below. 

Significant drivers of gender pay gap across the OECD
Share

Key findings

  • Iceland, Sweden and Norway remain the top 3 performing OECD countries. 
  • The UK has fallen back from 14th to 15th position as improvements in female job market conditions and the gender pay gap in other countries has outpaced the gains achieved in the UK.
  • Poland stands out for achieving the largest annual improvement, rising from 12th to 9th place due to a fall in female unemployment and an increase in the full-time employment rate for women.
  • Luxembourg has seen the biggest improvement in its rank over the long-term, while Portugal has seen the largest negative movement.
  • Our analysis of the drivers of the gender pay gap across the OECD shows that government spending on family benefits, the share of female entrepreneurs, maternity leave and occupational segregation help explain the gender pay gap.
  • Government policies to reduce the gender pay gap should focus on enhancing social support to families to help women stay in, or return to work, and promoting female entrepreneurship. 
  • Business can also help by improving opportunities for working women in higher-paying, higher-skilled roles through greater flexibility.
  • Fully closing the gender pay gap could increase total female earnings by US$2 trillion across the OECD. 
  • There are significant economic benefits in the long-term from increasing the female employment rate to match that of Sweden. The GDP gains across the OECD could be over US$6 trillion. 

 

Top 5 biggest movers in PwC's Women in Work Index from 2000 to 2016
Share
Select a territory and/or year to explore the data further
Index score
  • 2000
  • 2007
  • 2011
  • 2012
  • 2013
  • 2014
  • 2015
  • 2016
    Gender wage gap
    Shortfall of female relative to male wages
    Female boardroom representation
    Composition of female and male populations
    % of the total male or female population
    • Full time employment
    • Part-time employment
    • Unemployment
    • Outside labour force
    Closing the gender wage gap
    % increase for women's wages
    USD bn increase in female wages
    GDP impacts of increasing female employment rates to Swedish levels
    % increase in GDP
    USD bn increase in GDP
    Share

    Contact us

    Yong Jing Teow
    Economist
    Tel: +44 (0) 207 804 4257
    Email

    Swati Utkarshini
    Economist, PwC United Kingdom
    Tel: +44 (0)7843 370811
    Email

    Saloni Goel
    Economist, PwC United Kingdom
    Tel: +44 (0)7730 596332
    Email

    Follow us