New research by Dr. Aedin Doris, Prof. Donal O'Neill and Dr. Olive Sweetman from the Department of Economics Maynooth University, explores the timing and determinants of the gender wage gap for university educated employees in Ireland. This research uses an administrative dataset covering Irish graduate earnings from 2010-2020 to look at a broad range of degrees and compare workers who are identical in important observable characteristics. They find that although male and female graduates have similar returns to study field immediately after graduation, a substantial gap soon emerges. This is particularly true when considering women with children and is driven by a 27 percent fall in earnings immediately after childbirth. They find no striking differences between fields of study; there is a substantial and persistent motherhood effect for all field groupings. They examine and dismiss the possibility that the gender difference in earnings dynamics is driven by job mobility; in fact, almost all of the difference is accounted for by changes within a job. Although there is a large and persistent reduction in hours of work after childbirth, this does not seem to explain all of the reduction in earnings.
A full coy of the paper is available here