Worldwide, the gender gap in the labor market slightly decreased in 2022, mainly because of women's participation in the workforce, together with a smaller rate of unemployment. However, the development was not enough to recover the pre-pandemic peak, according to the PwC’s Women in work Index, which analyses the labor market in 33 OECD member states.

The Women in work Index rose 1.1 points last year to 65.5 points, after women’s participation in the labor market increased by 1.3 points to 70.8% and the unemployment rate dropped by 0.3 points to 6.4%. On the other hand, this data was also recorded by the employment rate among men, which suggests that we are talking about a positive macroeconomic evolution rather than a significant advance toward gender equality. Moreover, the gender pay gap increased by 0.6 points to 13.8%.

Romania isn't a member of the OECD, so it wasn't part of this study, but, according to Eurostat data from 2021, it is an exception in terms of differentiated remuneration. The average gross hourly wage in the European Union in 2019 was 14.1% lower for women than for men - with the lowest gender gap in Luxembourg (1.3%) and Romania (3.3%).

Moreover, the same study showed that the gender gap was higher in the private sector than in the public one. For Romania, the data on gender differences in the public sector are estimated by Eurostat, but even so it is a significant difference compared to the situation in the private sector, where the salary gap is 11.5%.

What are the sectors where most Romanian women work

Over the past 10 years, the number of women employed (public and private) has increased by 17% to 2.4 million. However, as we saw with the PwC report Women in work Index, this was more due to the economic evolution - we have the same increase in the number of employees among men, where we are talking about a 12.7% increase, the number of employees reached 2.7 million in 2021.

Most women in Romania work in the manufacturing industry - 517 thousand (21% of total women), followed by trade - 463 thousand (19%) and health and social assistance - 337 thousand (13.9% of the total).

What are the areas in which women earn the most in Romania

According to an analysis made by KeysFin, based on data obtained from the INS and the Trade Register, the difference between the incomes obtained by women and men, taking into account the average net salary, decreased from 9.9% in 2012 to 4.6% in 2021.

The Romanian women recorded the highest incomes in:

At the opposite end, we have hotels and restaurants sectors, where women earned an average monthly salary of 1,849 lei in 2021.

Women are better paid than men in administrative and support services, where they earn 21% more, gaining a 2,883 lei net monthly salary. The same thing happens in construction (but in this sector, the number of women employees is 7 times lower than men, respectively 52 thousand across the entire country), public administration (7% more), extractive industry (6%) and transport & storage (3%).

On the other hand, the largest wage gap recorded is in the financial and manufacturing sectors, where men earn on average 29%, respectively 20% more than women.

Why do women make career changes

To answer this question, we return to the Global Empowerment Index, mentioned at the beginning of this article. The four most important factors of workplace value for women are also the things that women take into account when deciding to make career changes, namely:

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20% of local companies, controlled by women

Last but not least, the same analysis conducted by KeysFin shows that in Romania there were almost 600,000 women shareholders or associates in active companies – 11% above the level in 2019 and 46% more than in 2013. The number represents almost 37% of the total shareholders and associates in the country.

According to the same analysis made exclusively on companies reported in the Ministry of Finance data, about 167,000 local companies (20% of the total) are controlled by women (with over 50% of the capital). The turnover of these companies was 171 billion lei (equivalent to 35 billion euros) and constitutes about 9% of the total in 2021.

The businesses in which Romanian women are active as a shareholder or majority shareholder (>50%) have, on average, three employees, a net result of almost 150 thousand lei and a turnover of over one million lei, 94% of them being micro-enterprises.