Brainy women ‘not reaping same rewards as men’

Female workers usually get lower salaries than male colleagues working in the same positions, but the pay gap appears wider among those with a bachelor’s degree or higher, according to a Thailand Development Research Institute (TDRI) researcher.

Worawan Chanduaywit, social security advisor to the TDRI, said although more women in the workforce tend to pass through higher education these days, their salaries have been lower than those of men over the past three decades.

A study also found that although women spend more resources in getting educated and had gained better work experience, their average salaries remain lower than those of men, she noted.

On the whole, regardless of education level, the salaries of private-sector male employees were 22-57% higher than those of women from 1987 to 1996, 12-50% higher between 1997 and 2006 and 11-32% higher between 2007-2016.

          If one looks specifically at unskilled workers with an education below bachelor’s degree level, the gap is narrowing. But the opposite is true for those who hold a bachelor’s degree or higher, Ms Worowan said.

Last year, the salaries of female bachelor’s degree holders in Thailand was about 28% less on average than those of men, she said. However, for those with a primary school education, the wage gap between men and women had shrunk by about half over the past three decades, the researcher said.

Looking at the overall population there are about 1 million more women than men in the country. She said in the future it is predicted there will be more female workers with a bachelor’s degree than men. This is because last year about 300,000 more women than men were in higher education.

Referring to the employment situation in Thailand, Ms Worawan said the unemployment rate was highest among people with a bachelor’s degree.

This article is written by Penchan Charoensuthipan, a columnist at Bangkok Post. It is first published on March 8, 2018.