This regularly held colloquium presents key Melbourne Institute research findings, and provides a forum for discussions on a broad range of topics that inform and shape Australian economic and social policy. Each colloquium is moderated by the Melbourne Institute Director (Professor A. Abigail Payne) or the Melbourne Institute Deputy Director (Professor Roger Wilkins).


Gender differences in employment and wages remain an ongoing issue in Australia, with women on average facing higher unemployment and earning lower wages when compared to men. This can lead to women missing out on opportunities to accumulate skills and experiences, and ultimately result in lower life time earnings, higher poverty, and lower superannuation. This Research Insight focuses on whether job flexibility outcomes – a key difference between women and men – could be responsible for why the gap isn’t narrowing.

Findings from the research indicate that relative to men, women are more likely to be out of the labour force, earn lower wages, work part-time, and have a shorter commuting distance from home to work. After job loss, women tend to be unemployed for longer than men, however they are more likely to gain employment with hourly wages close to what they previously had.

In this study, job flexibility is measured by the number of working hours and the commuting distance from home to the workplace. To determine whether women’s greater tendency towards job flexibility could be contributing to the gender gap, Dr Jordy Meekes uses data from both the Australian Bureau of Statistics and Statistics Netherlands, given the Netherlands has similar gender differences to Australia in labour force participation, wages, working hours, and commutes.


Join Dr Meekes on Tuesday 23rd March 2021, 12:00 to 12:45 pm AEDT in the first Melbourne Institute Virtual Colloquium of 2021, where he will provide further insights on gender differences in employment and wages.

Register here to attend