The gender gap in graduate job quality in Europe – a comparative analysis across economic sectors and countries

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This paper investigates the gender gap in a wide range of labour market outcomes (income, skill utilisation, work autonomy, job security and work-life balance) for higher education graduates in different economic sectors, using combined REFLEX and HEGESCO surveys from 17 European countries. In particular, it assess how specific institutional characteristics (gender composition, different levels of educational attainment of the labour force, skill specificity and the private or public nature of employment) within sectors, influence the early career gender gap in job quality for highly educated workers in Europe. The study finds that from the start of their careers, male higher education graduates receive higher wages, yet women report better skill utilisation, work autonomy and job security. In terms of institutional factors that influence gender differences in job quality, the paper finds support for the view that in sectors in which women are predominant they suffer an income penalty, but not in other aspects of job quality. Skill specificity of the sectors has been found to have very little explanatory value when it comes to graduate labour market.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)129-151
Number of pages23
JournalOxford Review of Education
Issue number1
Early online date27 Jan 2020
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • gender; labour market outcomes; higher education graduates; gender segregation; Europe;

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Economics and Econometrics

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