8. International Comparison of the Pay Gap
The UK has a relatively high pay gap compared to other countries. However meaningful direct comparison between countries can be complicated by underlying structural labour market differences. For example, Figure 9 shows that Italy has a low overall pay gap (7.4%) and Nordic countries, despite good performance in areas like female employment, childcare costs and parental leave, still have quite high gender pay gaps - for example Finland with 18.7% .
Figure 9: Overall pay gap in 2013 - EU member states (where data is available)
Source: Eurostat - gender pay gap in unadjusted form [table: earn_gr_gpgr2]
Looking at the 'shape' of the gender pay gap across age groups (see Figure 10), the UK and Nordic countries tend to have higher pay gaps higher in age groups where women are more likely to be undertaking unpaid care.
Italy, in contrast, has a relatively flat pay gap across the age groups. However this is most likely a reflection of its relatively high gender employment gap - fewer women employed, especially in part-time work results in a lower overall pay gap.
This suggests that whilst countries with more gender equality tend to do better in terms of female employment rates, this does not necessarily reduce the pay gap.
Figure 10: Gender pay gap by age group - 2013
Source: Scottish Government analysis of Eurostat data: Gender pay gap in unadjusted form by age in % - NACE Rev. 2, B-S excluding O (structure of earnings survey methodology) [earn_gr_gpgr2ag]
Figure 11: Difference in overall employment rate of women and men - 2014
Source: Scottish Government analysis of Eurostat data: Employment (main characteristics and rates) - annual averages [lfsi_emp_a]
KEY MESSAGE: countries with higher gender equality and female labour market participation do not necessarily perform best in terms of the pay gap. The pay gap, is also substantially influenced by labour market participation rates, and wider cultural factors.