Women less willing to travel far for work than men

Het Algemeen Dagblad
Sandra Phlippen, Assistant Professor at Erasmus School of Economics

Women want to travel on average 21 kilometres less for work than men. This means that the labour market for women only covers one third of the area in which men look for work, which restricts career opportunities.

This is concluded from an analysis done by ABN Amro with data collected from the UWV, the Dutch Employee Insurance Agency. On average, job-seekers are willing to travel 38 kilometres, women 28 kilometres and men 49 kilometres. In an article in Dutch newspaper Het Algemeen Dagblad, Sandra Phlippen, Assistant Professor at Erasmus School of Economics and Head for the Netherlands at ABN Amro’s Group Economics, explains that people who look for work less far from home, also have less options to choose from. ‘In addition, French research shows that the lower willingness of women to travel in France explains 10 percent of the gender pay gap.’

If this were also to apply to the Dutch situation, women would lose out on a net salary of 15 euro on a monthly basis. However, previous British research has shown that women clearly find travelling more annoying than men. ‘If women become happier when they work closer to home, it might not be a problem,’ says Phlippen. ‘I think it is very important for women to realise that they are depriving themselves of opportunities because they don't perceive them. It may be a choice to work near day care, but I would argue that everyone should be aware of that choice.’

According to Sandra however, we cannot rule out the possibility that women are simply more interested in jobs that are closer to home. ‘We are trying to include this in the research, but it is proving to be very difficult. Do women want to travel less and therefore limit their options, or are the jobs women are interested in simply more close by which means they do not have to look any further?’ Furthermore, the analysis shows that higher educated people apply for jobs that are on average 30 kilometres away and that they are therefore willing to travel further than lower educated colleagues. 

More information

Read the entire article in Het Algemeen Dagblad, 16 July 2019 here (in Dutch).