Women improve their position in a labour market where much is still to be done

Women’s employment figures in the city are the best in twenty years. The percentage of women of working age compared to the total number stands at 83.1%, while the figure for women in jobs stands at 77.9%. Both indicators are higher than those for Catalonia, Spain and the European Union, representing record numbers. Despite these positive data, there is still much to be done as women’s presence in the labour market is still very unequal across sectors and the wage gap between men and women in the city stands at 17.1%.

09/03/2024 11:11 h

Ajuntament de Barcelona

According to a study of women in the labour market, women’s participation in Barcelona is more than 10% higher than the numbers for the EU, even though in all the fields studied, the figures for working women are still below the figures for men. These are just some of the notable data in the report, compiled for 8M by the Department for Studies, part of the Manager’s Office for Economy and Economic Promotion, and the Equality and Diversity Service at Barcelona Activa.

  • The unemployment rate among women is similar to 2008 (6.3%) –the second lowest in 15 years–, even though it is higher than among men (5.9%). Some 43.5% of unemployment among women is long term, with 15,251 women having been out of work for more than two years, representing 58.8% of the consolidated unemployment total.
  • In the fourth quarter of 2023, some 19.9% of salaried women in Barcelona worked part-time, compared to a lower percentage of 8.8% among men. The percentage of women with temporary contracts in Barcelona is 15.1%, some 4% higher than the figure among men.
  • In 2023, there were 174,297 permanent work contracts for women, representing 41.8% of the total number of contracts for women, up by 24.4% compared to 2021. The growth is mainly a result of the labour reform of 2022.
  • Some 70.1% of contracts for foreign women correspond to jobs in restaurants, commerce and elementary occupations, a figure over 20% higher than the one for women on the whole (47.1%). Some 11.3% of these contracts are for professional scientific and intellectual posts (a much lower percentage than for national women, which stands at 22.6%) and 10.8% are for office jobs in accounting and administration. In 2023, some 53.1% of contracts formalised in Barcelona for domestic work in homes were signed by foreign women.
  • At the end of 2023, there were 610,568 women affiliated to the Social Security system in a Barcelona, representing 51.1% of jobs in the city. The number of affiliated women has grown by more than 110,000 since 2012, with an accumulated increase of 23%.
  • Despite this larger volume in the number of people affiliated, women’s presence is unequal according to the sectors of the economy, oscillating from 18.6% of jobs in construction to 83.2% of domestic jobs.
  • Notably, women represent 35.3% of the workforce in information and communications, a sector undergoing continuous growth and where there is a strong demand, offering higher salaries and better working conditions.
  • The difficulties persist in breaking the glass ceiling and accessing posts with decision-making roles and more power. In the fourth quarter of 2023, some 31.8% of executive and management jobs in Catalonia were held by women, slightly lower than the figure for the previous year (33.8%) after recording continued growth over the last decade.
  • The rate of entrepreneurship among women (TEA) in the Barcelona area stood at 6.8% of the resident population in 2022. This figure is higher than the one for Spain as a whole (5.9%) and close to the countries with high incomes in the European Union (7.2%).
  • The wage gap between men and women in Barcelona es generalised, regardless of sectors, types of contract and hours. The average wage among women in 2022 was 30,693 euros a year, still 17.1% lower than among men, despite a reduction of 8% compared to the period from 2012 to 2014, a consequence of the rise in the minimum wage and the salary devaluation experienced by men in the last decade. The biggest wage gap is among the group of university educated professionals, engineers and executives (23%).
  • In 2022, the percentage of women in Barcelona with salaries of 1,000 euros or less was 30.1%, nearly 5% more than among men (25.9%). This inequality is more acute among those aged 50 and over.


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