Declining but persistent inequalities. Three days before International Women’s Day, this is a timely study. This Tuesday, INSEE published its latest data on the salary gaps between men and women. And they are still significant. In gross terms, in the private sector, the average salary income of men in 2022 was almost a quarter (23.5%) higher than that of women. Or 26,110 euros per year for men compared to 19,980 euros for women.

A gap which “is partly explained by differences in average work volume”, explains the national statistics institute. Concretely, women are less often employed during the year, and work more part-time. Thus, the figure for the salary gap neutralized by this effect, which is called “full-time equivalent (EQTP)”, more revealing, turns out to be lower, but still amounts to 14.9%.

Pay inequalities have been decreasing almost constantly for more than 25 years. In 1995, in fact, the net salary of women (in EQTP) was 22.1% lower than that of men. That is, a gender gap reduced by 7.2 points in just over a quarter of a century. Between 2021 and 2022, it notably fell by 0.6%. “The change in the composition of jobs in the private sector partly explains this decrease” over the past 25 years, explains INSEE, taking the example of the share of women among executives, on average better paid than other employees, increased from 23% in 1995 to 37% in 2022.

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However, it is still “the gendered distribution of professions”, as INSEE calls it, which explains most of the salary inequalities. “Women do not occupy the same type of job and do not work in the same sectors as men and have less access to the most remunerative positions,” recalls the institute. They are therefore rarely present among high earners. If they occupy 41.8% of jobs in the private sector, they only represent a third of the 10% of the best paid employees (i.e. receiving a salary of at least 4,160 euros net monthly), and even 22.8 % of the 1% of highest paid employees (9970 euros at least).

For a comparable position, that is to say by comparing positions in the same profession with the same employer, the gender pay gap is reduced, falling to 4% in 2022 (compared to 4.3% in 2021). But, specifies the institute, “this salary gap for equivalent positions cannot be interpreted as a measure of salary discrimination in companies, because it is not corrected for differences in characteristics not observed here such as experience, seniority in the company or diploma, differences which can affect it upwards or downwards.

Furthermore, “the differences in salary income between women and men are even more marked between parents,” notes INSEE. If it is partly because mothers work less hours than fathers, this is not the only explanation. Indeed, in full-time equivalent, the difference between men and women is still significant, and increasing with the number of children: it is 6.1% among private sector employees without children, but reaches 29. 5% between mothers and fathers of 3 or more children. “These differences come both from the drop in salary observed after birth but also from the lasting slowdown in careers of mothers,” concludes INSEE.