Are Social Skills Helping Women in the Brazilian Labor Market?


  • Vanessa Neumann Sulzbach UFRGS
  • Guilherme Stein
  • Marcelo de Carvalho Griebeler



Social skills, High-skilled labor market, Wage differentials


We document an increase in the likelihood of women working in a good job (those with higher wages) in the Brazilian high-skilled labor market in the period of 1994-2017. We highlight the importance of social skills in explaining why the growing demand for high-skilled workers has not been equal across gender. To do so, we built a novel Brazilian Classification of Occupations (CBO) rating based on skill content compatible with the O*NET task index. Our results show a positive relationship between social skills and the female share of occupations, which suggests that women have been choosing professions intensive in this skill. We also provide results consistent with neuroscience literature, which has reported that women have a comparative advantage in performing tasks that require social skills. Finally, we find that the relevance of such skills in determining wages is higher for women than men in recent years.