EUR 1.5 million for University of Hamburg's "More than money" project

European Research Council funds project on flexibility and meaning of career choice for gender
12 September 2023
Eine Frau bei der Team-Arbeit im Büro

Prof. Dr. Iris Kesternich, a researcher in the Faculty of Economic and Social Sciences at the University of Hamburg, has received EUR 1.5 million in funds from the European Research Council's Consolidator Grant for a research project entitled "More than money" which highlights other work incentives. Emphasis is on flexibility and meaning of the career choice. 

Changing labour market requires additional work incentives 

The pandemic, new digital technologies and the ongoing lack of skilled labour have all triggered change on the labour market, according to the University of Hamburg. Employee attitude is prompting employers to come up with incentives other than salaries. "Surveys among women show that they value purpose and flexibility above all. Unlike men, they are more willing to sacrifice pay for these benefits. This could explain the persistent wage gap between men and women," saidKesternich. Given this backdrop, Kesternich would like to take a closer look at possible gender differences in terms of work incentives other than money.

Project to analyse long-term effects of career choice 

Research in the first sub-project will focus on ​​how flexibility on the labour market affects the supply of mothers and fathers, the time they spend with their children, and the power structure within the family. A second sub-project will focus on professions in education and nursing as they are generally considered more important to society and usually done by women. However, these professions are not particularly flexible, as a teacher or nurse cannot simply come to work later, if her child takes ill. Using new data, Kesternich wishes to test her assumption that choosing more important professions limits a woman's flexibility just when it is needed most, e.g., to care for small children. A third sub-project, will focus on the long-term effects of career choices on pensions. "The differences between men and women's salaries are often studied, but not the differences in pensions. In most countries, the disparities are greater than those between salaries," Kesternich pointed out. Therefore, she will collect data on trade-offs between wages and flexibility to assess their impact on pension decisions.