The purpose of this paper is to test whether the gender wage gap at the beginning of the working life in France varies with the gender composition of occupations (male-dominated, female-dominated or mixed) and its main determinant (educational pre-sorting or labour market sorting).
The first stage of the methodology is to decompose segregation indexes at occupation level into the two components of determination noted above. The occupations are then divided into five groups on the basis of their gender composition and the weight of the educational segregation. Oaxaca-Blinder decompositions are then applied to each group.
Among 54 strongly gendered occupations, the segregation in 26 stems mainly from educational pre-sorting. This context is favourable to reduction of the gender wage gap. However, a modest wage differential is not proof of convergence towards equity, as it may conceal the existence of a significant discrimination component, as in male occupations.
The results relate to a cohort of French youth. The earnings-equalizing impact of education-based occupational segregation should be tested in other national contexts.
Public authorities should put in place incentives to encourage women's participation in a greater range of education and training courses and to improve the matching between education and the skill content of jobs.
The originality lies in the suggestion that a strong connection between education and skill requirements helps to narrow the occupational gender wage gap.
Authors owe special thanks to Rosemary Batt, Catherine Marry, Dominique Meurs, Stéphane Moulin and José Rose for very helpful comments on earlier versions of the paper. They are also indebted to seminar participants at the 14th Workshop of the European Research Network on Transition in Youth for their comments on an earlier draft and acknowledge support from the French National Research Agency (ANR) for the research programme DRIS (Discriminations Ressenties et Inégalités Sociales) under the grant ANR-06-BLAN-04/5-02. The authors are also indebted to the editor and three anonymous referees for very helpful remarks and suggestions on a previous draft.
Couppié, T., Dupray, A. and Moullet, S. (2014), "Education-based occupational segregation and the gender wage gap: evidence from France", International Journal of Manpower, Vol. 35 No. 3, pp. 368-391. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJM-09-2012-0143
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