Seasonal employment is a factor in determining salary levels for women and men. | R. L.


According to the most recent salary structure survey by the UGT union, there is a 20% wage gap between men and women in the Balearics and the gap widened between 2010 and 2014, the latter year being the reference point for the survey.

Specifically, the average gross salary for men was 23,770 euros and 19,008 euros for women. The gap was, though, the third lowest among the regions of Spain. In the country as a whole the gap was 23.25% with men's average salary 25,727 euros and women's 19,744 euros.

While being the third lowest might sound positive, Xisca Gari, the UGT secretary for social policies and equality in the Balearics, attributes it to the fact that salaries in the Balearics - for both men and women - are lower than the national averages: by 7.6% for men (in 2014) and 3.7% for women. "Because of the dependence on the service sector and the seasonal economy, people earn less than in other regions."

Between 2010 and 2014, the gap widened by over five per cent, and Gari observes that during this period average wages for women decreased but increased for men. Women in the Balearics, as a consequence, suffered the greatest loss of purchasing power (relative to the cost of living index) anywhere in Spain.

Factors affecting the wage gap are well-known. They include a comparative scarcity of senior positions for women and greater part-time working by women. The situation is exacerbated by the nature of employment contracts. In 2014, there were 22.8% fewer women on permanent contracts than men. The difference for temporary contracts was much lower - 7.6%.

Even so, women who have full-time employment earn 12.6% less. The UGT has been demanding a wage equality law for several years and for there to be stronger penalties for companies that do not comply with regulations on gender equality. It wants all companies with more than 25 workers to have equality plans.