Income instability, a major factor of inequality – Wage incomes of men in the private sector

Nila Ceci-Renaud, Crest, Pauline Charnoz, division Marché et entreprises, Insee, et Mathilde Gaini, Dares et Crest

The wage income of a person is the total annual wages, taking into account that the person may have changed jobs, changed working hours, experienced spells of unemployment... Among men aged 26 to 54 working in the private sector, wage income inequality rose in the 1980s, then declined in the 1990s and 2000s. Inequalities finally reached the level they were at in the late 1970s. In a given year, inequalities in wage income between people can be broken down into inequalities related to differences in career profile on the one hand, and those related to income volatility due to jolts in professional lives on the other. For men aged 26 to 54 working in the private sector, changes in wage income inequality over thirty years were mainly due to income volatility, while differences in career profile remained fairly stable. The instability of wage income decreases with age. On average, it was the source of 44% of wage income inequalities between the age of 26 and 35, 30% between the age of 36 and 45 and 34% between the age of 45 and 54.

Insee Analyses
No 20
Paru le : 22/04/2015