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Multiple Glass Ceilings


  • Giovanni Russo,

    1. CEDEFOP, Finikas, (Thessaloniki), Greece
    2. IZA, Bonn, Germany
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  • Wolter Hassink

    1. IZA, Bonn, Germany
    2. Utrecht University, Utrecht, the Netherlands
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    • We are grateful to the Dutch Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment for access to the data and to Dan Hamermesh, the editor, and two anonymous referees for comments that substantially improved the quality of the paper. The views expressed are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of Cedefop. The usual caveat applies.


Both vertical (between job levels) and horizontal (within job levels) mobility can be sources of wage growth. We find that the glass ceiling operates at both margins. The unexplained part of the wage gap grows across job levels (glass ceiling at the vertical margin) and across the deciles of the intra-job-level wage distribution (glass ceiling at the horizontal margin). This implies that women face many glass ceilings, one for each job level above the second, and that the glass ceiling is a pervasive phenomenon. In the Netherlands it affects about 88 percent of jobs, and 81 percent of Dutch women in employment work in job levels where a glass ceiling is present.