This study examines whether there is a differential between men's and women's wages when they start working in the public sector, and if so, what factors were responsible for its creation, and how it has developed over the last sixteen years. The research shows that at the beginning of the period there was a clear differential in favor of men, that the differential contracted in the period of the study, and that since 2001 there has been no difference between men's and women's starting wage. The shrinking of the differential reflects the fact that men's real wage on joining the public sector rose by only 5 percent during the sixteen years covered by the study, while women's rose by 27 percent. The differential can be divided into two components: a difference in human capital that creates a legitimate gap, and a difference in the wage return for the same level of human capital, which creates an unjustifiable gap--perhaps due to discrimination. The narrowing of the differences in human capital between men and women to the extent that women now have the advantage resulted in the reduction of the wage differential between them. This narrowing of the differences was the outcome inter alia of the process of a very rapid increase in the numbers of female students in tertiary education, as a result of which the proportion of women entering relatively highly paid occupations rose constantly. In addition, the decline in the "unjustified" gap between men and women made no less a contribution to the contraction of the wage differential.

It was also found that when there is uniformity between men and women in the relevant population with regard to the various parameters (e.g., seniority, educational level), wage differentials are smaller, but they have risen in the last four years.

Moreover, it was found that men in general started working at a higher grade than women in the same occupation. In this area the relative situation of women improved substantially over the years. 

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