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Norway: Gender pay gap remains, but influence is slightly up

| Text: Björn Lindahl

The gender pay gap among full-time employees in Norway remains at 20 %. After adjusting for age, education, sector and several other factors, there is still a 13 % gender difference.

Those are some of the figures from the Norwegian Work Research Institute’s 2019 barometer measuring joint decision-making. The barometer is published annually in cooperation with six trade unions, to show how much say employees have in the workplace, and how they see their own working situation.

The barometer looks at a representative selection from the working population. A total of 3,049 people took part in this year’s survey. They were asked about their 2017 gross earnings. The average annual wage for full-time employed men was 711,000 kroner (€ 74,160). For women it was only 582,000 kroner (€60,700). 

There is also a difference between how much influence the respondees felt they had over their own work situation. 

47 % of the men said they had a lot of influence, while 42 % of the women said the same.

Asked whether they felt they could control how their organised their own work, the difference was considerably larger. While 63 % of the men put themselves on 4 to 5 on a scale to five, where 1 was no influence at all and 5 was a lot of influence, only 45 percent of the women did the same. 

“This is where the different trades might be part of the explanation. A larger proportion of women work within the care and health sectors and in the public sector. This work is more standardised and less flexible when it comes to how the work is organised; your own influence over working hours, tempo, who you work with and the access to resources needed to carry out tasks,” write researchers Eivind Falkum and Ida Drange, who were in charge of this part of the survey.

So what is the general position of joint decision-making in the Nordic labour market? Compared to the decade from 2009 to 2019, the respondees said it had fallen, but that there was a slight increase during 2018. The joint decision-making barometer asks the same question as a Fafo survey in 2009. The results are compared below:

Graph: Björn Lindahl The graph shows an index in the barometer with a scale of 1-5, where 1 is no influence at all and 5 is a lot of influence. The results were slightly higher for two of the questions in 2018 than in 2017.

The Work Research Institute researchers have also examined whether there are any differences between organised and non-organised employees in how they experience opportunities for joint decision-making. 

“When we compare 2009 figures for people’s perceived influence on their own work situations with 2018 figures, all employees (non-organised, organised, employees with no collective agreement and employees with collective agreements) have got less influence over their work situation in the past decade.

“But the average number falls further for those who are not organised in a trade union, and those with no collective agreement, compared with those who are organised and those who have a collective agreement,” writes Eivind Falkum.

Earlier barometers




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