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Gender inequalities in job quality during the recession

Pilar Ficapal-Cusí (Faculty of Economics and Business, Universitat Oberta de Catalunya, Barcelona, Spain)
Angel Díaz-Chao (Department of Applied Economics, Facultad de Ciencias Juridicas y Sociales, Universidad Rey Juan Carlos, Madrid, Spain)
Milagros Sainz-Ibáñez (Internet Interdisciplinary Institute, Universitat Oberta de Catalunya, Barcelona, Spain)
Joan Torrent-Sellens (Faculty of Economics and Business, Universitat Oberta de Catalunya, Barcelona, Spain)

Employee Relations

ISSN: 0142-5455

Article publication date: 2 January 2018




The purpose of this paper is to empirically analyse gender differences in job quality during the first years of the economic crisis in Spain.


The paper uses microdata from the Quality of Working Life Survey. A representative sample of 5,381 and 4,925 Spanish employees (men and women) in 2008 and 2010, and a two-stage structural equation modelling (SEM) are empirically tested.


The study revealed three main results. First, the improvement in job quality was more favourable to men than it was to women. Second, the gender differences in the explanation of job quality increased considerably in favour of men. Third, this increase in gender-related job inequality in favour of men is explained by a worsening of 4 of the 5 explanatory dimensions thereof: intrinsic job quality; work organisation and workplace relationships; working conditions, work intensity and health and safety at work; and extrinsic rewards. Only inequality in the work-life balance dimension remained stable.

Research limitations/implications

The availability of more detailed microdata for other countries and new statistical methods for analysing causal relationships, particularly SEM-PLS, would allow new approaches to be taken.

Social implications

Public policy measures required to fight against gender inequalities are discussed.


The paper contributes to enrich the understanding of the multidimensional and gender-related determinants of job quality and, in particular, of studying the effects of the first years of the economic crisis.



Ficapal-Cusí, P., Díaz-Chao, A., Sainz-Ibáñez, M. and Torrent-Sellens, J. (2018), "Gender inequalities in job quality during the recession", Employee Relations, Vol. 40 No. 1, pp. 2-22.



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