Germany News

In eastern Germany, the gender pay gap favours women

The pay gap between men and women in Germany varies from region to region, according to a new study in a media report published on Monday.

The study, which was conducted by the Institute for Employment Research (IAB) and shared exclusively with Die Welt, showed that the pay gap between women and men doesn't exist everywhere in Germany.

Germany has one of the European Union’s largest gender wage gaps; in 2016, women here earned around 21 percent less than men – worse than the EU average of around 16 percent.

But in the Bavarian district of Dingolfing-Landau, a man earns on average 38 percent more than a woman, the study found – nowhere else in Germany is the pay gap in favour of men this high. Meanwhile in Cottbus, Brandenburg, a woman earns 17 percent more than a man on average.

Women in both regions, however, earn around the same monthly salary: €2,791 and €2,814, respectively. Women moreover on average earn about the same amount nationwide.

Conversely, the average monthly income for men in Dingolfing-Landau is €4,531 and in Cottbus €2,398; the salaries of men vary nationwide.

Some initial conclusions can be drawn from these figures, according to Die Welt.

"It seems to be the case that the availability of certain jobs for men in a region is crucial for determining the area’s gender pay gap," IAB researcher Michaela Fuchs told the newspaper.

"Where men earn less, there’s a tendency for a pay gap in favour of women. Where men earn more, we see a pay gap which benefits men," Fuchs added.

The gender pay gap in favour of males is particularly high in regions such as Ingolstadt (36.9 percent), Böblingen (35.9 percent), the Lake Constance district (33.6 percent) and Erlangen (32.4 percent).

“These are all regions that specialize in specific sectors," said Fuchs, adding that certain companies are located there – such as Europe’s largest BMW plant in Dingolfing-Landau, Audi in Ingolstadt and Siemens in Erlangen.

“Here there exist particular companies and job structures” in industries like engineering where men seem to benefit more than women in terms of income, the researcher added.

On the other hand, in places like Cottbus, Schwerin and Frankfurt an der Oder, men are more often unemployed and are likelier to earn less whereas women are comparatively well off, said Fuchs.

In eastern Germany, pay gaps largely exist in favour of women, the report states. But these areas are also where the lowest average income for both sexes can be found.

Researchers at the IAB do not yet have concrete explanations for the figures gathered from the study, according to the report, including whether the gender pay gap in Germany can be partly attributed to higher paid jobs held by men in specific industries like engineering.

The IAB study is set to be published in autumn.

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