Women had less than 30% of men‘s average income from work in 2015, based on tax-returns. Comparison of mean earnings for full-time employees on the other hand shows about 20% gender pay gap when based on total earnings but about 14% when based on regular earnings without overtime pay. The unadjusted gender pay gap was 17% in 2015 based on regular earnings with overtime pay in accordance with Eurostat‘s methods.

Income from work highest for both men and women in the age group 45 to 49 years
In 2015, half of women had average income from work lower than 3.7 million ISK per year corresponding to 5 million ISK of men. Average income from work does not take into account working hours and the number of hours worked by men is generally higher than women’s. Average working hours were 44.1 hours per week for men and 35.5 hours for women in 2015, according to the Labour Force Survey.

Average income from work was highest for both men and women in the age group 45 to 49 years in 2015. Men in that age group had significantly higher income from work per year or 8.1 million ISK compared with 5.5 million ISK for women.

The gender wage gap of income from work increases with each decile and men’s income in the highest decile was over 12 million ISK per year while women’s was 8.5 million ISK in 2015.

Working hours partly explain the gender pay gap for full-time employees
More than half of women working full-time had total monthly earnings over 490 thousand ISK while more than half of working men full-time had 586 thousand ISK. Men´s total earnings varied more than women´s and men had in general higher total earnings.


Working hours partly explain why men‘s mean total earnings are higher than those of women for full-time employees. According to the Icelandic Survey on Wages, Earnings and Labour Cost, the average number of paid monthly hours for men was 189 in 2015 and 179.7 for women. The gender pay gap was thus less when comparing regular earnings without overtime pay. The mean monthly regular earnings without overtime pay were 458 thousand ISK for women and 534 thousand ISK for men, hence a gender pay gap of 14%. Corresponding gender pay gap based on monthly regular earnings with overtime pay was about 18%.

In 2015, according to the Labour Force Survey, the number of employed men was 96,200 and employed women 87,500 and the labour market to some extent gender segmented. In the economic activity of Construction, the proportion of men was 95% while the proportion of women was about 80% in the economic activities of Education and Human health and social work.

The distribution of full-time employees’ total earnings differs by economic activity. In Human health and social work men´s mean total earnings vary more than those of women.  It can partly be explained by different job structure between the sexes. For example, among professionals about 60% of women were nurses and midwifes while about 70% of men were medical doctors.

Notes: The rectangle is defined by the lower and upper quartile and divided by the median. The bars are defined by the 1st and 9th decile. Manufacturing (C), Electricity, gas, steam, and air conditioning supply (D), Wholesale and retail trade; repair of motor vehicles (G), Transportation and storage (G), Information and communication (J), Financial and insurance activities (K), Public administration and defence; compulsory social security (O), Education (P), Human health and social work activities (Q).

Financial and insurance activities also stick out as regards the distribution of men’s total earnings for full-time employees compared to women's. In that economic activity men´s total earnings were much higher than women´s as women had approximately 37% less total earnings on average than men in 2015. Full-time clerks in Financial activities had the lowest total earnings within the economic activity but about 30% of women are occupied as clerks while only about 6% of men. Women working as professionals in Financial activities had about 16% less total earnings than professional men.

The unadjusted gender pay gap in local government was 7.2% in the year 2015
The unadjusted gender pay gap (GPG) in Iceland was 17% in the year 2015 and increased slightly from 16.4% in 2014. In the private sector the GPG was 16.7% and 14.6% in the public sector. Within the public sector the GPG was 14.9% in the central government and 7.2% in the local government.

Unadjusted gender pay gap 2008-2015                
  2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015
Total 20.5 18.0 17.5 17.5 17.2 18.5 16.4 17.0
Private sector 22.4 20.1 17.8 17.6 16.8 17.2 16.3 16.7
Public sector 21.2 18.0 16.5 16.5 16.5 15.5 13.9 14.6
Employees in the public sector - central government 18.8 16.5 15.6 16.1 17.8 16.7 14.8 14.9
Employees in the public sector - local government 14.7 10.4 7.5 7.4 8.1 6.9 7.2 7.2

About the gender pay gap
The results of gender pay gap measurements can vary with different data and methods. However, above mentioned measures all conclude that a gender pay gap exists.

Average income from work are based on individual tax returns and include wages and other work related income such as car benefits, daily allowance and other benefits, calculated remuneration and income from abroad, other than capital income. In the context of income from work, the gender wage gap is calculated as the difference of men’s and women’s average income as a proportion of men´s income.

Earnings are based on the Icelandic Survey on Wages, Earnings and Labour Cost and cover about 70 thousand employees. The survey is a stratified sample survey and data are weighted according to the survey design. The survey covers about 80% of the Icelandic labour market even though certain economic activities are missing. Regular earnings are monthly remuneration for regular working hours that is ordinary working hours according to collective agreements, both daytime and shift-work hours. Total earnings are the total remuneration per month, excluding payments in kind. The earning’s gender pay gap is interpreted as the difference of mean men’s and women’s earnings as a proportion of men´s earnings.

The unadjusted gender pay gap (GPG) is based on the Structure of earnings survey (SES). The gender pay gap in unadjusted form represents the difference between average gross hourly earnings of male employees and of female employees as a percentage of average gross hourly earnings of male employees. The calculation is based on October each year and gross hourly earnings include paid overtime and exclude non-regular payments. The gender pay gap indicator has been defined as unadjusted, i.e. not adjusted according to individual characteristics that may explain differences in earnings for men and women. With the release of new results for 2015 in Iceland, data for 2011 to 2015 were revised.

  Earnings and unadjusted gender pay gap
  Income – tax return