Caymanian women have on average attained higher education levels than Caymanian men. They are also more likely to find a job and they earn more money than men in the medium to high income brackets, according to the 2010 Cayman Islands census data released in April.
While the census differentiates between gender as well as Caymanians and non-Caymanians, the gender differences among the Caymanian population are showing particularly interesting developments compared to the 1999 census.
In terms of education Caymanian men are more likely to have passed no school examination than Caymanian women (23.6 per cent of men compared to 19.7 per cent of women) and men tend to have either high school education (34.8 per cent) or passed vocational classes (13.1 per cent).
Woman, in contrast, are more likely than men to have associate, bachelor, master or other postgraduate degrees, with nearly a quarter of Caymanian woman having a college or university degree (24.93 per cent) compared to only 17.84 per cent of Caymanian men.
Women better educated
According to the UNESCO World Atlas of Gender Equality in Education released this year, this development is not unique. Over the past four decades access to higher education has been expanded worldwide and women have been the main beneficiaries from this development in all regions.
“Female enrolment at the tertiary level has grown almost twice as fast as that of men over the last four decades for reasons that include social mobility, enhanced income potential and international pressure to narrow the gender gap,” the UNESCO report notes.
“Nevertheless, enhanced access to higher education by women has not always translated into enhanced career opportunities, including the opportunity to use their doctorates in the field of research.”
This is also evident in Cayman where despite the larger number of female postgraduates, there are nearly twice as many male PhD holders.
The difference in education levels also appears to have an impact on the labour market where Caymanian men account for the highest unemployment rate of 11.5 per cent, a massive 3.4 per cent higher than for Caymanian women.
Gender wage gap narrowing
In the 1999 census Caymanian male residents on average earned $36,551 in total income and Caymanian women $27,372, meaning that on average men earned a third more than women. In 2010 this income gap has narrowed significantly to approximately $45,062 for Caymanian men and $41,642 for Caymanian women, or a just over 8 per cent higher average wage for men.
The remaining average wage gap is the result of Caymanian men still dominating the highest income bracket of $86,400 or more and women being overrepresented in the lowest income brackets of $19,199 or less. There is however a significantly higher share of women than men (38.8 per cent of all women compared to 33.5 per cent of all men) earning between $38,400 and $86,399.
Although the closing of the average wage gender gap is a positive development, the comparison does not reveal anything about the gender wage gap between men and women working in the same position.
Among non-Caymanians the average wage gender gap is more pronounced given that exactly half of all non-Caymanian women earn less than $19,199 per year, compared to 26.2 per cent of non-Caymanian men and 19.1 per cent of Caymanian women.
The census also shows that Caymanians earn significantly more than non-Caymanians. This is in part the result of nearly 37 per cent of expats earning less than $19,200 per annum. However, it also holds true in the highest wage brackets, where 23.7 per cent of Caymanians earn more than $57,600 per year, compared to 16 per cent of non-Caymanians. Caymanian women outnumber men in both the private and the public sector, but men are much more likely to be self-employed by a ratio of nearly 3 to 1.
In terms of occupations Caymanian women have a higher share of professionals (37.1 per cent), clerical support workers (22.8 per cent), service and sales workers (17.1 per cent) and elementary occupations (7.2 per cent). Caymanian men dominate management positions (17.3 per cent compared to 13.3 of Cayman women), craft and trade related jobs, plant and machine operators and agriculture and fishery professions.
The higher share of men in management and top earning positions shows that there is still some way to go before gender differences in the employment market are largely eliminated.
Although there are more non-Caymanians than Caymanians in the labour force, considerably more Caymanians (15.2 per cent) than non-Caymanians (6.3 per cent) are employed in management positions. This is naturally also a reflection of Cayman labour laws, according to which preference must be given to suitably qualified Caymanian applicants. The number of professionals is evenly split at 16.7 and 16.6 per cent respectively. Clerical support positions are mostly filled by Caymanians (15.1 compared to 4.5 per cent), whereas a majority of expatriates is employed in service and sales jobs (22.7 per cent compared to 15.1 per cent) and elementary labour jobs (19.5 per cent compared to 6.6 per cent).