Women in the labour market: more part-time work, more women from abroad, but not more management responsibility

 International Women’s Day on 8th March

07 Mar 2024 | Press release no.11

Last year, employment subject to social insurance contributions in Germany rose by 264,000 to a record high of 34.7 million people (as at 30th June 2023). Women also contributed to this increase: in 2023, their employment subject to social insurance contributions increased by 118,000 to reach a total of 16.1 million.

At 58.7 percent, the employment rate, i.e. the proportion of women between the ages of 15 and the statutory retirement age who are subject to social insurance contributions, remains well below the rate for men (65.8 percent). There are also considerable regional differences: in eastern Germany, the employment rates for women and men are traditionally at a similarly high level. Recently, however, the gap has widened slightly to the disadvantage of women. At the end of June 2023, the employment rate for women in eastern Germany was 61.8 percent, slightly below that of men, at 63.9 percent. In western Germany, on the other hand, the employment rate for women (58.0 percent) continues to be significantly lower than that of men (66.2 percent).

Increased employment due to women from foreign countries and more part-time work

Employment subject to social insurance contributions among women mainly increased due to strong growth in part-time employment (+102,000). Almost half of all women (49.8 percent) work on a part-time basis. For men, the figure is only just under 13 percent.

As with men, the increase in employment among women is exclusively due to foreign nationals. Employment of women with German nationality fell slightly last year by 32,000. Employment subject to social insurance contributions of women with foreign nationality rose by 150,000, however. The proportion of women with a foreign passport among all female employees subject to social insurance contributions has more than doubled in the last ten years, and currently stands at 13 percent.

Women remain underrepresented in management positions

At 3,413 euros per month, the average gross salary of women in full-time employment subject to social security contributions is still lower than that of men at 3,779 euros. The gap between gross salaries, i.e. the unadjusted gender pay gap, continued to narrow slightly last year, by just under eight euros. Women remain significantly underrepresented in the management tiers of companies. The proportion of women at the first tier of management remains low at 28 percent; their proportion at the second management level has not increased since 2016.