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The gender dimension of technical change and the role of task inputs

  • Lindley, Joanne

By 2011, the employment shares of UK graduate men and women had become equal for the first time. With no evidence of a significantly declining graduate female–male wage differential, this suggests that the relative demand for graduate women must have increased in order to accommodate the faster increase in their relative supply. However, gender clustering in degree subjects suggests that male and female graduates may not be perfect substitutes in production and therefore that gender biases may exist in the relative demand and supply of graduate labour. Consequently, this paper investigates whether industry level skill demand shifts have differed for men and women, focussing specifically on the role of technical change and job task inputs. The paper shows that, despite the large growth in the percentage of women obtaining a degree, overall women lost out from technical change between 1997 and 2006. This was most likely as a consequence of their lower quality numeracy and literacy skills, as well as other skills required to undertake the tasks that are correlated with technical change, especially in highly computerised private sector industries like finance and machine manufacturing.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Labour Economics.

Volume (Year): 19 (2012)
Issue (Month): 4 ()
Pages: 516-526

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Handle: RePEc:eee:labeco:v:19:y:2012:i:4:p:516-526
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  1. Yu Zhu & Ian Walker, 2011. "Differences by Degree: Evidence of the Net Financial Rates of Return to Undergraduate Study for England and Wales," Working Papers 33, AlmaLaurea Inter-University Consortium.
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