Evaluating work of comparable worth. The use of job evaluation systems as promotors of gender equal salaries in the Swedish municipal sector

The gender wage gap is recurrently discussed in Swedish politics and media. The main explanation is the horizontal segregation of the labour market: women and men work in different occupations and with different tasks. To come to terms with the gender wage gap, all Swedish employers are obliged to investigate differences between female and male employees’ salaries in jobs of equal worth. They use a number of different job evaluation systems to identify these jobs. However, this does not mean that the different ways of evaluating jobs always use unbiased criteria or that the criteria are used in an unbiased way. It is not, either, certain that men and women who are found to have jobs of equal worth receive equal salaries. The project will investigate job evaluation processes to find out to which extent these can be regarded as a gender equal tool that results in gender equal salaries.

The project will follow the gender salary mapping processes of four municipal organizations. Focus lies on the job evaluation and salary mapping processes, and how differences between women’s and men’s work and their salaries are managed in them. The main empirical data consists of observations of meetings where job evaluation and salary mapping are discussed, for example between employer and union representatives, and recurrent interviews with the individuals who take part in the work.

The project will not only give information about job evaluation in regard to gender, but also more general knowledge about how employer and union representatives value different municipal jobs. Thus, it will enhance the understanding of how different stereotypical ideas can influence salary policies concerning other groups of employees, of different backgrounds.

Forte, 2017-2019

Project members: Minna Salminen-Karlsson, Centre for Gender Research and Anna Fogelberg Eriksson, Linköping University

Contact: Minna Salminen-Karlsson