The Commission has published the latest edition of the Employment and Social Developments in Europe (ESDE) Quarterly Review, with a specific thematic focus on the gender pay gap among young workers, on occasion of the 2022 European Year of Youth.

ESDE quarterly reviews periodically provide an overview of recent social and labour market developments in the EU, accompanied by specific thematic analyses.

The latest edition shows that young women (aged 25-29) face a 7.2% unadjusted gender pay gap at the start of their professional careers in the EU labour market. This is about half of the pay gap for all workers, indicating larger pay inequalities among older workers, potentially as a consequence of career breaks due to caring responsibilities among women.

However, the review also notes that, pay differences between young women and men are difficult to explain based on available data and the situation varies considerably from country to country. In addition, certain differences in worker characteristics account for substantial pay differences, but they operate in different directions – notably, young men tend to earn more because they work in higher paid economic activities whereas young women tend to earn higher wages because they are better educated.

Closing the gender pay gap was highlighted as a priority in the Commission’s Gender Equality Strategy 2020-2025. In line with this, the Commission has presented a proposal for a Directive to strengthen the application of the principle of equal pay for equal work or work of equal value between men and women through pay transparency and enforcement mechanisms. This proposal is currently being discussed by the European Parliament and the Council.




This publication has been prepared within INDIGISE project. The content of this publication is the sole responsibility of the project coordinator and may not always reflect the views of the European Commission or the National Agency.