Differences in wages may be due to a large number of different factors. Taking into account the explanatory factors available in producing the wage statistics, using standard weighting, an unexplained difference of 4.5 per cent remained between the sexes for 2021.

One important explanation for the difference in average wage between the sexes is a gender-segregated labour market where women and men still largely work in different occupations, and where these occupations have different wage levels.

The results for 2021 show that the pay gap increased by 0.2 percentage points between 2020 and 2021. The previous year it decreased by 0.2 percentage points. On a whole it looks like the continued decrease which had been seen yearly since 2007 stopped after 2019. However it is likely that the pandemic has had a large effect on the estimates in 2020 and 2021.

Looking at the pay gap in the public and private sectors respectively, the results differ. Among white collar workers in the private sector and in the public sector the pay gap has continued to decrease the last two years. In contrast, among blue collar workers in the private sector there has been an increase in the pay gap. Blue collar workers are largely found within economic branches where the composition of the workforce looks to have been heavily affected by the pandemic. It remains to be seen whether the changes are of a temporary or permanent nature.

In a longer perspective, the pay gap has decreased by 6.4 percentage points between 2005 and 2021.