The gender pay implications of institutional and organisational wage setting practices - A case study of Argentina and Chile.

UoM administered thesis: Phd

  • Authors:
  • Sebastian Ugarte

Abstract

This research examines relevant processes of wage determination and labour allocation at the country, sector and organisational levels in an effort to understand their influence in shaping women's relative pay in the highly skilled labour market segment of Argentina and Chile. Our multi-level project follows a mixed-methods research design, which draws on 74 semi-structured interviews in addition to a wide variety of country, sector and firm-level quantitative data sources.First, building on comparative employment systems and industrial relations research, we suggest that Argentina's inclusive wage-setting system and the high statutory minimum wage policy in Chile both exert a positive influence on narrowing the gender pay gap, in addition to distributing earnings more equally at the bottom end of the wage distribution. Second, following existing studies in the field of labour market segmentation theory, we find differences in the career approaches followed by graduates in Argentina and Chile. The unstable economic conditions in Argentina, in combination with an influential and strong sectoral union movement, make it more likely that male and female banking graduates seek shelter in the internal labour market. In Chile, by contrast, the more informal pay negotiations and high discretion management approach in evidence in banks encourage male graduates (in a greater proportion than women) to pursue external labour market opportunities. Third, drawing on past sex segregation debates from gender studies, we find similar segregation processes and outcomes in Argentina and Chile. Women's opportunities are hindered by a lack of transparency in promotion processes at the higher hierarchical levels, which are influenced by gender stereotypes of employers against women. Finally, we build on human resource management studies to analyse the conditions needed to achieve gender equality at the organisational level. We find that the promotion of formalised and transparent HR practices not only contributes to gender pay equity, they are also a key factor in limiting the variability of pay and management discretion.

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Original languageEnglish
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Award date1 Aug 2014