The gross annual income of men is more susceptible to cyclical fluctuations because, compared to women, they are more likely to work in cyclical sectors such as construction and ICT. In times of economic prosperity, e.g. at the turn of the century and in 2006-2007, men’s income rose more sharply. In economically less favourable periods, such as in the crisis period 2009-2013, men's income decreased while that of women remained stable. In 1985, prosperity reached an all-time low as a result of the two oil crises in the 1970s, and the income of men in particular fell sharply. Despite the coronavirus crisis, the income of men and women also increased in 2020, mainly due to wage increases already agreed in collective bargaining.
Between 1977 and 2020, the number of women with income from work increased from 1.8 million to 4.6 million. Among men, it rose from 3.9 million to 5.2 million. In 1977, there were 223 working men for every 100 working women. The gap was closer in 2020 with 113 men for every 100 women.
|Jaar||Men (x 1,000 euros (2020 price level))||Women (x 1,000 euros (2020 price level))|
|* Income data over the period 1977-1989 are available every four years and are followed by annual data. ** Provisional figures|
Widest income gap between working parents
In 2020, the income of working women was on average more than 35 percent lower than that of their male colleagues. The difference is mainly due to the fact that almost three quarters of the women work part-time, and no more than a quarter of the men. Nowhere in the European Union do women and men work part-time as often as in the Netherlands. At 26.2 hours, the average working week of women was more than a quarter shorter than that of men (35.4 hours).
The largest difference in income is seen between cohabiting men and women with children: over 45 percent. The difference in working hours is greatest in the phase when the children are still small. As working hours increased especially among mothers (by more than 5 hours between 2003 and 2020), the income gap with working fathers has narrowed the most. In 1977, the income gap was 77 percent; in 2000 it was 64 percent.
Among single persons, the income difference between men and women is comparatively small, especially among those under 45. This is partly because the difference in working hours between men and women is relatively small at the start of the career. For this reason, even younger cohabiting men and women without children show little income differences. The difference is much greater among cohabiting women over 45, as women in that age group work fewer hours on average than younger generations of women. With single mothers, it is the other way around: those over 45 work longer hours.
|Average gap (%)||Single person (%)||Single parent (%)||Part of couple without children (%)||Part of couple with child(ren) (%)|
|45 yrs and over||40.1||22.3||34.5||38.3||47.1|
Lower hourly wages
Apart from the shorter working week, women's lower gross hourly wages also play an important role in the pay gap. In 2020, the average gross hourly wage of Dutch women was 14 percent below that of men, which puts the Netherlands in tenth place in the European Union. The hourly wage gap between male and female employees was the greatest in Latvia (over 22 percent), followed by Estonia (21 percent). The hourly wage gap was the smallest in Luxembourg: less than 1 percent. It was also comparatively small in Romania and Slovenia.
Women's lower hourly wages are partly due to differences with men in age, part-time work, occupational level and leadership. The wage gap in the Netherlands has narrowed over the years, partly because female employees have become more highly educated. In 2008, the gap still amounted to 20 percent. In the public sector, the decrease was stronger than in the private sector.
|Land||Wage gap (%)|