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On-the-job training - a mechanism for gender segregation?

Research project The aim of this project is to investigate the relationship between gender, on-the-job training and wages.

There are several reasons to expect women to receive less training than men. The traditional hypothesis is that they invest less in their human capital, due to anticipated career interruptions. However, even with the same education, women could be hired in jobs with other skill requirements than men and this may affect their access to training and/or the returns to training. Previous research shows that female-dominated occupations have lower wage levels and it is important to understand if this is due to differences in training. Thus, it is important to investigate how on-the-job training is related to gender segregation both at work and at home. Also, the relationship between gender, training and wages may vary between countries. Here, analyses are carried out for eight European countries, including four Nordic countries.

Head of project

Project overview

Project period:

2009-01-01 2011-12-31


Finansår , 2009, 2010, 2011

huvudman: Anne Grönlund, Umeå universitet, finansiar: FAS, y2009: 700, y2010: 750, y2011: 800,

Participating departments and units at Umeå University

Department of Sociology, Faculty of Social Sciences

Research area


Project description

The aim of the project is to examine the association between occupational gender segregation and on-the-job training and to examine whether segregation and training affects gender differences in wages and regarding employees’ dependence on their employers.

Occupational gender segregation is a prominent phenomenon all over OECD and a number of studies show that occupations dominated by women have lower wage levels. However, it is not clear how the relationship should be explained and in this context, it seems important to consider not only the supply side of skill but also the demand side – that is, the possibilities for on-the-job training. Theoretically, on-the-job training has been associated both with gender segregation and with wages and employer-employee dependence relations, but its impact has not been thoroughly analyzed in empirical research.

The questions posed in this project are whether women and men with the same human capital have jobs with different training requirements and if this is due to occupational gender segregation. Other questions are whether differences in on-the-job training requirements explain the lower wages in female dominated occupations, how training affects employer/employee dependence relations and how dependence affect wages. Finally, the project examines how the division of work within the household affects skills and wages. Theoretically, such specialization is often assumed to explain the gender wage gap. However, its actual impact is important to assess, as also other processes may be at play.

Data come from European Social Survey and analyses are carried out simultaneously for eight European countries, including four Nordic countries. The comparative design makes it possible to study how institutional arrangements affect the associations between gender segregation, training and wages.

Subject: sociology