BWP 4/2021

Gender and occupations

BWP 4/2021

Young men and women do not make the same decisions and choices regarding education, training and occupation. These gender-related differences in decision-making are perpetuated in subsequent employment histories and in the employment system. The articles in this issue of BWP attempt to explain why the differences occur as well as examine associated consequences for aspects such as professional success and the structure of occupations. A further question arises. Which measures are suitable in order for countering gender-segregating tendencies in education and training and in employment?


Special Focus

Sigrid Nikutta

“The quota is nothing else but a target for companies – and the target is to become better”

Interview with Dr. Sigrid Nikutta, CEO of DB Cargo AG and Group Board Member of Deutsche Bahn AG with responsibility for freight transport

Young women tend to achieve better school qualifications than young men, but often fail to exploit this educational advantage in their professional careers. The average income of women is lower than that of their male colleagues, even though the same tasks are sometimes performed. Women are also significantly less likely to be represented in executive level positions at German companies. Can quotas and fast-tracking help to compensate for such inequalities in the employment system? Dr. Sigrid Nikutta is one of the few women who has made it to the top of a global company group. In this interview, she talks about her own journey and reveals what drives her. She also clearly sets out what she would recommend young women to do and explains how she is approaching the present challenges as CEO of DB Cargo and how she is seeking to tackle the issues of climate protection and diversity.
Corinna Kleinert, Kathrin Leuze

Occupations and gender – does occupational structure reproduce gender inequalities on the German labour market?

This article collates current research results relating to the significance of occupational structure for the reproduction of gender inequalities on the German labour market. We begin by presenting long-term gender segregation trends since the 1970s. We then analyse whether and how the gender composition of occupations and associated occupational characteristics of gender inequalities are reproduced in monetary and non-monetary labour market returns.
Stephan Kroll

Men and women amongst themselves

Gender-specific developments in dual male and female occupations and differences during training

read more

A sharp decline in female participation in the dual vocational system pursuant to the Vocational Training Act (BBiG) or the Crafts and Trades Regulation Code (HwO) has been evident since the start of the 1990s. By 2019, the number of women as a proportion of all trainees had fallen by five percentage points. In the area of responsibility of trade and industry, it was even the case that a decline of just under eight percentage points was recorded. What impact is this having on developments in occupational structure? This article uses the Vocational Education and Training Statistics to illustrate how the ratio of occupations dominated by men or by women has shifted over the past three decades. It also investigates which differences in training success may emerge as a result of such an unequal distribution of the genders.
Helmut Dornmayr, Marlis Riepl

Young women in technical apprenticeship occupations

The significance of childhood activities for occupational choice

Despite extensive research and a plethora of measures and programmes, no success has thus far been achieved in terms of bringing about a significant increase in the number of women in technical occupations. Against such a background, this article presents an employment-oriented research approach which investigates specific practical options to increase the proportion of female trainees in technical apprenticeship occupations. The main focuses are on the influence of childhood activities and on possible occupational marketing measures. The article uses the results of an online survey of 1,339 trainees in Lower Austria.
Stephanie Conein, Heike Krämer, Inga Schad-Dankwart

STEM occupations are different – just like women

Why general concepts to increase women's interest in STEM occupations are not sufficient

read more

The question of how to increase the proportion of women in STEM occupations has been discussed for many years. Frequently, however, no distinction is drawn between individual STEM occupations. Closer examination reveals differences. Whereas some of the occupations actually do display a very low proportion of women, female representation in other STEM occupations is even above 50 percent. What makes some of these occupations attractive to women? And why are other occupations still rarely chosen despite having similar contents? These questions were investigated as part of the BIBB project “Women choose STEM”.
Selma Tabak-Balks

Young women conquer technical occupations

girlsatec ambassadors as a key pillar of the project

The occupational choice of male and female pupils is shaped by their family, friends and immediate environment. However, young women often lack female role models for industrial and technical occupations. This is an area in which the project girlsatec is seeking to have an impact. Young women who are undergoing or have completed training in a technical occupation are acting as ambassadors and providing female pupils with insights into their everyday working lives as part of the vocational orientation process. The article outlines the project and shows how specific support for the ambassadors is helping to secure the project’s success and continuation.
Birgit Buschmann, Jasmin Luft-Broschell, Wenka Wentzel

Firing girls’ enthusiasm for IT and digitalisation

Girls’ Digital Camps in Baden-Württemberg

Digital skills are a key prerequisite for those seeking equitable participation and an opportunity to help shape the world of work. They have now become an integral part of every occupational field. IT expertise is in particular demand. For this reason, the Ministry of Economic Affairs of the State of Baden-Württemberg has developed and piloted a project which aims to spark the interest of girls and young women in topics and applications relating to every aspect of IT and digitalisation. This article describes the concept and offers a forecast of further developments.
Barbara Scholand, Marc Thielen

Men in care occupations – is caring masculinity a prospect?

The occupational choice of young people still varies sharply by gender. Following the rise in demand for qualified workers in the care sector, the educational policy goal of “cliché-free occupational choice” and the idea of attracting more men are frequently put forward as a possible solution. But what motivates men to embark upon training in care occupations, where women make up the majority of new entrants? And what significance do they attach to gender-related perceptions of a person’s characteristics? This article uses interviews with trainees in three different care occupations to highlight the occupational perspectives being pursued and to discover how they come to terms with aspects of gender and masculinity. Is it possible that they are constructing new concepts of masculinity?
Anja Hall, Ana Santiago Vela

Are all “female-dominated occupations” poorly paid?

read more

Occupations with a very high proportion of women are designated as female-dominated occupations. Wages in female-dominated occupations are on average lower than in typical male-dominated occupations and in mixed occupations not dominated by women. Whether this average income-reducing effect of female-dominated occupations differs across educational levels and across occupational fields has not yet been analysed and forms the focus of the present article. Using the 2018 BIBB/BAuA Employment Survey, we first investigate whether the effect of female-dominated occupations is different for the group of employed persons with a vocational education and training (VET) degree than for the whole group of employed persons with all educational levels. Second, by focusing on employed persons with a VET degree, we analyse whether all female occupations are poorly paid or whether any differences arise depending on the specific field of the female-dominated occupation.
Marco Seegers

Education extends working life

Gender-specific effects of education at the transition to retirement

read more

In July 2021, the Federal Employment Agency published an announcement stating that more than one million employees are now aged over 67.* Employment at an older age is becoming increasingly normal, albeit for different reasons. It is revealed that older women are particularly likely to have a lower income. It is also more probable that they will be affected by poverty. The present article investigates how gender-specific life histories structure the transition to retirement and looks at the influence exerted by level of education..

From research and practice

Andreas Diettrich

Pedagogical qualification of company-based training staff

Impetuses from the Bavarian pilot seminars of the 1970s viewed from today’s perspective

There is a broad consensus within VET practice, policy and research that trainers need to have sufficient pedagogical training in order to carry out their complex tasks. A lesser degree of agreement exists in respect of how this training should be structured and organised and also with regard to whether it should be stipulated or standardised. Relevant benchmarks were set 50 years ago by pilot seminars, which were developed and conducted on behalf of the Bavarian State Ministry for Labour and Social Affairs. Looking back today, it is clear that these benchmarks remain conspicuously “up-to-date” from a didactic and conceptual point of view and from a systematic perspective in particular.
Markus Linten, Paula Rauß genannt Kaiser

Researching specialist information on vocational education and training

Knowing how and where to find what you need

Those seeking out specialist information often rely on search engines such as Google and Google Scholar. Although these services encompass a multitude of sources and documents, they do not always produce relevant hits. This article presents various ways in which searches can be specified with the assistance of certain operators and commands. It also showcases relevant specialist VET portals and literature databases which can provide alternatives.


Rebekka Lieb, Petra Marpe

Training concepts for modern timber house construction

Specialist qualifications are required for modern timber frame house construction, and not all carpentry companies are capable of imparting these. How can trainees and skilled workers get the training they need to meet these new requirements? The Federal VET Centre of the Carpentry and Finishing Trades in Kassel has developed relevant initial, continuing and advanced training courses. This article presents the concepts and experiences gained following implementation of the first courses.

Profile of an occupation – specialist in market and social research

read more

For many years, young people wishing to pursue a career in market and social research were forced to attend university first. Since the introduction of the training occupation of “specialist in market and social research” in 2006, however, they have been able to enter the sector directly. The three-year training programme imparts the knowledge required to deal with highly varying issues of societal and economic relevance in a versatile and differentiated way.
International BIBB Congress 2022 – Be Part of It!