Mind the Gap!
Analysing the Gender Gap and Crisis Effects on Occupational Paths of Young Graduates in Italy
In Italy working and career opportunities are strongly affected by gender differences, more than in other European countries. In last decade female educational level have been increasing more than male one, but gender gap does not appear to be reduced, especially in terms of labour market participation.
During the 80’s, the increasing in education of female population allowed a massive and more stable entrance of women in labour market, but nowadays a new phenomenon is emerging of marked “gendered mismatch” between female education and (qualitative and quantitative) working opportunities and pathways.
Also, most of the literature in this field show that better female university curricula of young women, rarely become a comparative advantage by competing in labour market with their male colleagues. Recent studies show that young graduates women earn on average 116 Euros per month less than their male colleagues and have an unemployment rate of 26% compared to the 22% of young males.
The aim of this paper is to analyze, through a diachronic perspective, the impact of current socio-economic crisis on all these structural inequalities, in order to reconstruct and describe continuities and discontinuities in gender occupational structure, focusing on the highest and more qualified segment of the young labour force.
The analysis presented on the Italian case is based on Almalaurea survey between 2008 and 2014. Almalaurea is a consortium of 72 Italian universities, largely representative of Italian graduates.
Results show that there are (old and) a new risks of an increasing female exclusion, which is also a long term risk for the entire country: in the “Crisis eve” women tend to shorten or to give up their university education, mainly for economic reasons, by renouncing, at the same time, their main “protective factor”.