Changing labour supply composition and the supply of work-life balance by employers

The growing number of women in the workforce and the domination of women of the graduate labour supply will increase the incentive of employers to make the workplace more family-friendly. Those that do not will lose access to the majority of graduate and other talent.

Various work place amenities can be traded-off in salary packages. In industries and occupations where this is cheap to do, the wage offset will be least. These industries and occupations will attract a large number of women because the net returns to them in cash wages plus amenities is higher than for men who value the greater work life balance less.

share-of-labor-force-with-part-time-jobs-women-men_chartbuilder

Occupational segregation around the clock illustrates the delicate trade-off between cash wages and the costs of flexible hours. Men and women work in much the same occupations between 8 and 6. There are big gaps if you are an early starter or work over dinner time.

Changing the production processes of these industries to induce more women to work unsocial hours would require large reduction in production and pay. Fewer women will not enter occupations with more unsocial hours unless they are paid more than in other jobs where it is cheaper to provide work-life balance and still pay higher cash wages.

Occupations and industries where family friendliness is more costly will be male dominated because women qualified enough to enter these occupations will go elsewhere where the cash wages sacrifice is less for work-life balance. Influxes of women will occur in industries where technological trends lower the cost of work-life amenities and the growing number of female skilled workers forces employers’ hands. They must adapt or lose out in competition for talent. The large influx of women into male dominated higher skilled occupations and professions suggests that some occupations can provide work-life balance at a lower cost than others.

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The biggest gender gap that dare not speak its name

Gender gaps in injuries and fatalities go beyond those industries demanding physical.strength.

accident compensation claims by gender

There are noticeable differences in the occupational choices of single people, parents, and single parents. Women choose safer jobs than men; single moms or dads are most averse to fatal risk because they have the most to lose. About one quarter of occupational differences between men and women can be attributed to the risks of injury and death.

All but 3 of the fatal workplace accidents in New Zealand in 2015 were men.

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Source: Accident Compensation Corporation,  Statistics New Zealand.

This gender gap in the risk of injury and death can lead to a significant gender wage gap because of the wage premium associated with these risks and in particular the risk of death as Viscusi explained.

The bottom line is that market forces have a powerful influence on job safety. The $120 billion in annual wage premiums referred to earlier is in addition to the value of workers’ compensation. Workers on moderately risky blue-collar jobs, whose annual risk of getting killed is 1 in 10,000, earn a premium of $300 to $500 per year.

The imputed compensation per “statistical death” (10,000 times $300 to $500) is therefore $3 million to $5 million. Even workers who are not strongly averse to risk and who have voluntarily chosen extremely risky jobs, such as coal miners and firemen, receive compensation on the order of $600,000 per statistical death…

Other evidence that the safety market works comes from the decrease in the riskiness of jobs throughout the century. One would predict that as workers become wealthier they will be less desperate to earn money and will therefore demand more safety.

A German study was able to reduce a raw gender wage gap of 20% to 1% after accounting for differences between gender in the risk of injury and death in addition to the usual factors. This 2007 study found that they were the 2nd study ever to make this adjustment.

Speaking of the equality of the sexes

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Source: David Meyer.

The gender commuting gap between mothers and fathers

The first three bars in each cluster of bars are for men. in almost all countries mothers with dependent children spend less time commuting than childless women. This might suggest that working mothers have found workplaces closer to home than women without children. The gender gap in commuting where it is present in the country is larger than the gap between mothers and other women in their commuting time.

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Source: OECD Family Database – OECD, Table LMF2.6.A.

Unadjusted US gender wage gap at the 10th, 50th and 90th percentiles in 1980, 1989, 1998 and 2010

Much ducking and diving is required to explain why the women with most options in life have the largest gender wage gap.

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Source: The Gender Wage Gap: Extent, Trends, and Explanations by Francine D. Blau, Lawrence M. Kahn :: SSRN via Panel Study of Income Dynamic (PSID).

The gender pay gap for high school leavers and graduates aged 35-44 in the US, UK, Canada, Denmark, Sweden, Australia and New Zealand

The USA, the gender pay gap gets worse if you go to college. By contrast, in Sweden and especially Canada the gender pay gap is much less for graduates than for those with a high school education.

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Data extracted on 09 Mar 2016 22:28 UTC (GMT) from OECD.Stat.

In most countries in the chart above, going on to university and graduating does not reduce the gender pay gap by the time you reach your late 30s and early 40s. Best explanation for that is that part of the graduate wage premium is traded for work-life balance.

Harvard business School survey discovers that workers want more