TRAPEZ.Analysis: Facts, Data, Numbers

In TRAPEZ.Analysis, WIFO and FORBA conducted a joint analysis consisting of a quantitative and a qualitative sub-study. This made it possible to shed comprehensive light on the causes and factors of the Gender Gap in Pensions (GGP), i.e. the gender-specific difference in old-age pension levels. The quantitative research conducted by WIFO calculated and analysed the Gender Pension Gap in Austria, and studied the underlying factors and its effects in a component’s analysis of the gap. FORBA's qualitative research aimed at identifying the state of knowledge, the individual perceptions and the possibilities of actions among the target group of employed women to secure their pension entitlements. A synthesis research report including proposals and recommendations was published in 2020 in both English and German. This study sheds light on factors of the GGP and their effects on women and, for the first time, makes women’s perspectives on this topic visible.

For more details, see the study "TRAPEZ.ANALYSIS – Gender Gaps in Pensions in Austria: Quantitative and Qualitative Analysis" by WIFO and FORBA:

Study "TRAPEZ.ANALYSIS – Gender Gaps in Pensions in Austria: Quantitative and Qualitative Analysis". 2020 (PDF, 1.791 KB)

The GGP compares the old-age income of women with that of men and shows the difference as percentage. In that way, the economic inequality of the entire working life at a given point in time is illustrated. Among all newly awarded old-age pensions in 2018, the gender gap in pensions was 42.3 percent on average and 49.2 percent in median (2017: 44.1 and 51.0 percent, respectively). More detailed, in 2018, employed women received 49.4 percent lower pensions than men did (2017: 51.4 percent). Moreover, this gap was a bit lower for self-employed traders (2017: 41.2 percent) while it was the lowest for female farmers (2017: 23.9 percent).

Diagram: factors on pension: pension system, labour market, structural framwork conditions

As the GGP analysis shows, labour market-related factors contribute significantly to lower pensions for women:

  • Lower employment income of women due to the structural earnings gap
  • Fewer insurance years from employment, which are only partially supplemented by more partial insurance years (child-raising periods).
Diagram: labour market - influences on pension, described in the report

Therefore, the majority of the pension gap is caused by the lower employment income. The shorter insurance duration of women has the second largest influence.

Diagram: approaches within in the pension system, described in the report

The gendered division of labour leads to longer career breaks and part-time employment for many women, which in turn leads to much lower pensions. In order to improve this situation, a fairer division at the couple level is needed, as well as a change in corporate and societal thinking.

Diagram: structural factors, described in the report

European Exchange

A policy brief in English was published by the Austrian Society for European Policy: The gender pension gap in Austria and Europe. The policy brief summarizes that within the European Union women have on average a 30 percent lower retirement income than men. Country differences range from 43.1 percent (Luxembourg) to 1.1 percent (Estonia). Austria (38.7 percent) has the fourth highest gender gap in pensions within the European Union. Despite an above-average economic performance per inhabitant and an above-average employment rate for women, Austria occupies a negative top position in this respect. Using recent data of the 2017 pension access cohort, the gap in old-age pensions in the statutory pension scheme (first pillar) is even higher and reaches 42.3 percent. The different levels of earned income over the course of working life explain 55 percent of the gap. The lower number of working years explains 41 percent of the gap. The different levels of partial insurance (unemployment and child care periods) explain about 4 percent of the gender gap in retirement.

Results of the research and international perspectives were also discussed in a European expert workshop on 8 and 12 November 2019; here, you will find the respective information in the Publications of TRAPEZ.Public. For more information in German, visit the website TRAPEZ.Analyse.