Forward looking behaviour and occupational segregation

Rosen (2004) suggests that the engineering market responds strongly to economic forces. The demand for engineers responds to the price of engineering services and demand shocks such as recessions and defence cuts. Supply and enrolment decisions are remarkably sensitive to career prospects in engineering. Students also appear to use some forward-looking elements to forecast demand for engineers. Many students also change their majors in light on more information on whether the like their current choices and other news (Bettinger 2010).

This evidence of students use forward-looking elements to forecasting the occupational demand for human capital suggests that better information may improve these choices. The government has made a distributional judgment to expand the choices open to women. The growing evidence of relatively accurate forward looking decisions making by students suggests that they will respond to additional information on prospects in different careers.

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In addition, earnings from some occupations are also more uncertain than others. The STEM occupations are an example where shortages and, in particular, surpluses are more common because durable goods industries bear the bulk of business cycle risk. There is also the political unpredictability of defence and R&D spending. Women seem to prefer jobs that are more secure. Some occupations have higher risks of injury than others. Fewer parents, and both single fathers and single mothers, in particular, enter these more injury prone occupations.

These gender-based preferences about hazards and uncertainties will lead to fewer women entering occupations that are more injury prone or more at risk to recessions and industry-specific downturns. Occupational segregation will still persist in the labour market in the relative absence of either discrimination or a gendered division of labour and household effort.

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Newer drivers of occupational segregation

There are important drivers of occupational segregation that are not related to either discrimination or a gendered division of labour. These newer drivers are strong enough to explain most of the gender differences in tertiary education attainment. These gender differences in tertiary attainment and the drivers behind them will be important determinates of the future occupational segregation and entry into male dominated professions.

An important driver of occupational segregation is modern technological trends ranging from ICT to the emergence of a larger service sectors that have worked to the comparative advantage of women. Many more service jobs and fewer jobs based on brawn have increased the returns to women of working more in the market. In addition, a range of personality traits and skills work to the advantage of women in some occupations more than others.

Another driver of occupational segregation is women have more occupation choices than men because of different personality traits and superior verbal and readings skills. The superior verbal and reading skills of teenage girls are the equivalent of ½ a year’s extra schooling (OECD 2012). Teenage girls also score higher on personality traits such as persistence. Teenage boys have many more behavioural problems. Boys do especially poorly in broken families (Bertrand and Pan 2013).

Jacob (2002) found that higher non-cognitive skills and larger college premiums for women accounted for 90 percent of the gender gap in higher education. Becker, Hubbard and Murphy (2010) found that differences in the costs of college for women and men are primarily due to differences in the distributions of non-cognitive skills and explain most of the world-wide overtaking of men by women in higher education.

percentage of degrees conferred on women by major

About 64% of recent New Zealand graduates were women but they have personality traits and verbal and reading skills that will be rewarded more in interactive professions and occupations. Women are pursuing these comparative advantages and maximising the rewards on their skills and natural talents. These differences in skills and talents will lead to different occupational and sub-occupational distributions and mixes as compared to men despite any differences arising from the gendered division of labour and effort and costs of care giving.

There are fewer women in STEM occupations because they have better options elsewhere to reward both their mathematical and scientific talents and their superior verbal and reading skills.

The wage premium for STEM occupations for women is much smaller because they have options elsewhere that reward all of their skills, not just their STEM related talents. Young women and well as young men do equally will in the STEM prerequisites. Women have more options is other higher power occupations that make full use of their more diverse talents.

Occupational segregation in the future in part will be driven the same factors behind much higher female tertiary educational attainment. Superior verbal and readings skills and greater persistence and self-organisation among women will make some occupations more rewarding for them as compared to males who have, on average, fewer of these innate talents.

The traditional drivers of occupational segregation

The main drivers of female occupational choice are supply-side (Chiswick 2006, 2007). This self-selection of females into occupations with more durable human capital, and into more general educations and more mobile training that allows women to change jobs more often and move in and out of the workforce at less cost to earning power and skills sets.

Chiswick (2006) and Becker (1985, 1993) then suggest that these supply side choices about education and careers are made against a background of a gendered division of labour and effort in the home, and in particular, in housework and the raising of children. These choices in turn reflect how individual preferences and social roles are formed and evolve in society.

gender pay gap in the OECD

These adaptations of women to the operation of the labour market, in turn, reflect a gendered division of labour and household effort in raising families and the accidents of birth as to who has these roles (Chiswick 2006, 2007; Becker 1981, 1985, 1993).

The market is operating fairly well in terms of rewarding what skills and talents people bring to it in light of a gendered division of labour and household effort and the accidents of birth. The issue is one of distributive justice about how these skills and family commitments are allocated and should be allocated outside the market between men and women when raising children. As in related areas such as racial and ethnic wage and employment gaps, these gaps are driven by differences in the skills and talents that people acquired prior to entering the labour market. …

The changing nature and scale of the gender gap

Developments in recent decades greatly increased the options for women to combine careers and family. The unadjusted gender wage gap is narrow while the gender education gap has reversed. The progress with closing the gender gaps in employment and education in recent decades makes the crafting of further gender-based policy interventions more challenging.

The remaining gender gaps reflect much more thorny issues such as work-life balance rather than mid and late 20th century concerns such as large gender differences in education participation and attainment, sex discrimination and full-time motherhood raising much larger families.

gender wage gap and birth of first child

Parental leave, early childhood education and child care subsidies have increased in New Zealand in recent years. Early childhood education spending is high in New Zealand by international standards but spending on child care subsidies is less generous (OECD 2012).

The main drivers of greater female labour force participation and greater investment in long-duration professional educations were access to reliable contraception, the rise of service sector and other jobs that depend on brains instead of brawn, the automation of housework with white goods, and rising incomes increasing the opportunity cost of having a large number of children.

This is a first in a series of blogs on occupational segregation and gender.

The dark underbelly of the signalling value of engagement rings

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Source: Newmark’s Door: Some notes on comparable worth.

Time for an equal pay day for young urban males?

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Source: ‘Equal Pay Day for Young, Single Men’ to recognize the gender pay gap in favor of young, single, childless women – AEI | Carpe Diem Blog » AEIdeas.