Close the gender commuting gap
The gender commuting gap has emerged as one of the key factors in the way women approach job search and career planning.
We all know about the gender pay gap, but perhaps not the gender commuting gap.
In today’s rapidly evolving world, the gender commuting gap has emerged as one of the key factors in the way women approach job search and career planning. The resulting disparities all contribute to the gender pay gap and other inequities between men and women both in the workforce and at home. Commuting, an essential part of the daily work routine for many, has revealed a significant gender difference.
The gender commuting gap
In Europe a study found that “commuting time has increased during the last three decades in Denmark, Finland, Sweden, Ireland, Italy, Spain, Belgium, France, and the Netherlands, and we find decreasing trends in commuting time in Austria, Germany, Greece and Portugal.”
On average, men are willing to accept a 14% longer commute than women. The difference between both genders is most pronounced (23.7%) for those who are married with children, but remains significant (7.7 percent) in the case of single individuals without children. .
The difference in average commute times in the US by gender – 17.4 minutes for women vs. 25.3 minutes for men – represents a 31.1% “gender commuting gap” in favour of women, who spend only 68.9 minutes commuting to work for every 100 minutes men spend commuting on average (same as the OECD average). That gender gap is much greater than the 18.1% “gender pay gap”
Pre-Covid research from the U.K. Office for National Statistics found that women “are more likely than men to leave their job over a long commute. When deciding whether to leave their job, women are more likely than men to accept lower pay in favour of a shorter commute, contributing to the overall gender pay gap.” Women have a shorter daily work commute than men and this gap widens after having children.
The commuting differential is reflected in salary. The longer the commute, the higher the pay and vice versa. Research from INSEAD suggests that the gender commuting gap contributes as much as 10% to the gender pay.
Why women choose shorter commutes
Despite the fact that longer commutes usually to large business centres pay better, women favour short commutes (15 minutes or less), while men do the majority of longer journeys (an hour or more).
Women frequently make job search and career choices based on the invisible load or the “third shift” around their family commitments. Access to schools and child care or family members who can support them, rather than the job itself plays a key role in job search activities. Although a shorter commute can be helpful in the short term, that decision impacts their longer-term earning potential and overall career prospects.
In Europe car ownership is split almost equally between men and women, although in the UK women owned only one-third of cars in 2017, forcing them to be reliant on public transport which can be less reliable and slower. Carpooling is common and car journeys to work are more or less equally split between men and women. The U.S is a car-based culture.
Closing the Gap