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Gender inequalities in the initial labour market experience of young Europeans

Gabriella Berloffa (Department of Economics and Management, University of Trento, Trento, Italy)
Eleonora Matteazzi (Department of Sociology and Social Research, University of Trento, Trento, Italy)
Alina Şandor (Department of Economics and Management, University of Trento, Trento, Italy)
Paola Villa (Department of Economics and Management, University of Trento, Trento, Italy)

International Journal of Manpower

ISSN: 0143-7720

Article publication date: 12 February 2019




The purpose of this paper is to investigate gender differences in employment status trajectories of young Europeans during their initial labour market experience, and the way in which they are affected by some labour market institutions.


The empirical analysis is based on EU-SILC longitudinal data (waves 2006–2012), and focusses on young people aged 16–34. Monthly information on self-declared employment statuses for 36 months is used to define “employment status trajectories”. Young people are observed in two different phases: the first three years after leaving education (first phase) and a three-year window, starting around four years after the end of education (2nd phase). Multinomial logit models are used to estimate the probability of following different trajectory types as a function of individual characteristics, macroeconomic conditions and institutional indicators.


Results show that, in the first phase, women and men face on average the same difficulties in entering the labour market. When controlling for the presence of children, non-mothers have higher chances than men to enter rapidly and successfully into the labour market, whereas young mothers have the same chances. In contrast, in the second phase women experience more fragmented pathways than men, even if they do not have children. A less stringent regulation on dismissals of employees with regular contracts could enhance women’s employment opportunities in the school-to-work transition, but it would have detrimental effects for both men and women in the subsequent years. On the contrary, a more stringent regulation on the use of temporary contracts would have beneficial effects for women, with no adverse effects for men.


The paper contributes to the literature in several ways. First, it takes a broader perspective on youth labour market integration by considering two phases of individuals’ initial working life. Second, it combines an explicit attention to the first “significant” employment experience with a focus on individual trajectories, by adopting a new method to group trajectories. Third, it shows how the effects of labour market institutions vary by gender, highlighting the importance of considering gender-specific consequences when discussing or adopting labour market reforms.



Berloffa, G., Matteazzi, E., Şandor, A. and Villa, P. (2019), "Gender inequalities in the initial labour market experience of young Europeans", International Journal of Manpower, Vol. 40 No. 3, pp. 379-397.



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