Ruhr Economic Papers

Ruhr Economic Papers #889

It’s a Woman’s World? Occupational Structure and the Rise of Female Employment in Germany

by Ronald Bachmann and Gayane Stepanyan

12/2020, 25 S./p., 8 Euro, ISBN 978-3-96973-028-7 DOI: 10.4419/969730287



We analyse whether the rise in female labour force participation in Germany over the last decades can
be explained by technological progress increasing the demand for non-routine social and cognitive skills,
traditionally attributed to women. We do so by examining which task groups and occupations drive the
increase in the female share and how this is related to women’s wages. Our findings show that the share
of women indeed rises most strongly in non-routine occupations requiring strong social and cognitive
skills. While the female share in high-paid occupations increases over time, the share of women in the
upper parts of the overall wage distribution rises much less which implies significant within-occupation
gender wage gaps.

JEL-Classification: J21, J31, O33

Keywords: Female labour market participation; occupations; tasks; technological progress