ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

A+| A| A-

Occupation, Earning, and Gender

An Analysis with the Labour Force Survey in India

This study analyses the employment distribution of the working-age women by occupations across their activities in usual principal status in the Periodic Labour Force Survey for 2017–18 by taking into account the household-specific factors and workers’ personal characteristics by using a multinomial logit model. The study infers that gender differences in returns to schooling are in favour of female workers, but they earned less than male workers in almost every occupation and employment status. The effect of education is stronger in selecting high-paying jobs.


The authors would like to thank the anonymous referees for constructive comments and suggestions and to the editorial team for publishing this paper. The usual disclaimer applies.

Gender differences in occupation have widely been considered as one of the important factors to contribute to earning differences by gender (Groshen 1991; Macpherson and Hirsch 1995; Blau et al 2013). Conventionally, supply-side analysis of the labour market uses differences in human capital accumulation between men and women as the major explanatory factor for gender differences in job choices and earnings (both wage and non-wage earnings). While the gender gap in educational attainment has been reducing over time and today, in many cases, the education gap has reversed in favour of women, gender wage gap has increased in different sectors. Thus, earning differences by gender cannot be explained fully by the differences in human capital variables like education and experience between men and women. These findings highlight the significance of understanding the causes and consequences of differences in employment distributions by gender as an area of research.

Most of the studies available in the early literature have attributed mainly the pattern of occupational segregation by gender by looking into the differences in human capital accumulation and examine the incidence of discrimination across occupations. In recent literature, gender differences in preference for job attributes has been suggested as a potential explanation for gender differences in occupational choice and earnings. Recent studies have also used gender differences in cognitive skills in analysing the differences in occupations and wages between men and women (Bertrand 2011). It is observed that women have a comparative advantage in cognitive relative to manual skills, and these facts are likely to explain why women are absorbed more in cognitive-intensive jobs (Welch 2000).

Dear Reader,

To continue reading, become a subscriber.

Explore our attractive subscription offers.

Click here


To gain instant access to this article (download).

INR 236

(Readers in India)

$ 12

(Readers outside India)

Published On : 20th Jan, 2024

Support Us

Your Support will ensure EPW’s financial viability and sustainability.

The EPW produces independent and public-spirited scholarship and analyses of contemporary affairs every week. EPW is one of the few publications that keep alive the spirit of intellectual inquiry in the Indian media.

Often described as a publication with a “social conscience,” EPW has never shied away from taking strong editorial positions. Our publication is free from political pressure, or commercial interests. Our editorial independence is our pride.

We rely on your support to continue the endeavour of highlighting the challenges faced by the disadvantaged, writings from the margins, and scholarship on the most pertinent issues that concern contemporary Indian society.

Every contribution is valuable for our future.