Raising women’s employment rate to match Sweden’s could increase GDP by US $ 6 trillion


If the employment rate of women in the OECD were to match that of Sweden, the OECD’s GDP could grow by more than $ 6 trillion, according to PwC’s latest Women in Work Index, which analyzes women’s economic empowerment in 33 OECD countries.

Between 2017 and 2018, the OECD continued to make incremental gains in women’s economic empowerment. Iceland and Sweden retained the top two places for the fifth consecutive year, with Slovenia in third place. Czechia saw the biggest improvement in its ranking of any OECD country, dropping four places from 23rd to 19th.e, due to modest but positive improvements in all indicators in the index. The United States saw its ranking increase slightly, from 22nd in 2017 to 20th in 2018.

Although the UK has outperformed the OECD average and is only second behind Canada compared to other G7 economies, its position has barely changed since 2000 when it stood. in 17th position, despite improving performance in all five indicators.

Estonia and Ireland saw the biggest drop in their rankings on the index this year, each losing four positions, mainly due to a drop in the employment rate of full-time women in Estonia and a widening of the pay gap between men and women in Ireland.

Closing the pay gap between men and women

The PwC report also finds that closing the gender pay gap could increase women’s earnings across the OECD by more than $ 2 trillion, an increase of 21%.

Jing Teow, Economist at PwC UK, says: “Although progress has been made across the OECD, the rate of improvement is still slow, despite the prospect of significant economic gains from increasing participation of women in the labor market. In order to realize these gains, businesses and governments must work together to help more women work and ensure that there is a fair and equal pay structure. It is also crucial that women have the right opportunities to improve their skills in the face of increasing automation as we enter the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

Women in technology

On average in the G7, women make up only 30% of the tech workforce, and even fewer women occupy the top echelons of tech companies. According to PwC’s Women in Technology Index, which is included in this year’s study, Canada is the best performing country in the G7 in terms of gender representation and gender equality in the tech sector, along with France. in second position and the United States in third position.

The UK is fifth in the G7 in the Women in Technology Index. Its poor performance is due to its below-average performance on all indicators except the share of women on boards in the technology, media and telecommunications (TMT) sector.

Impact of technology on women’s employment

The PwC study also reveals that AI and new technologies such as robotics, drones and driverless vehicles could displace jobs for women, but can also create new ones. There might be a small gain for female workers in OECD countries, but the distribution of gains and losses can vary widely across countries and industry sectors. The health and social services sector, the largest employer of women in the OECD, is expected to experience a net increase in female employment due to technology. However, the wholesale and retail trade and manufacturing sectors in OECD countries are expected to experience a sharp decline in female employment due to technology.

As technology continues to change the world of work, a
recent PwC global survey found that more than half of the world’s workers believe automation will either change dramatically or make their jobs obsolete over the next decade.

Colm Kelly, Global Leader, Tax and Legal Services, Global Leader, Purpose, PwC, adds: “Policymakers and businesses have a key role to play in helping people, including women, adapt to technological changes as well. throughout their professional life. This includes offering more training in digital skills and STEM subjects, supporting retraining to other jobs in sectors where the ‘human touch’ is crucial and offering opportunities to acquire more general skills, such as creativity, problem solving and flexibility. With the right interventions, everyone, including women, can benefit from the productivity gains of technology and automation.


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