Gender disparities in wages are still fairly large. On average, women earn less than men from the beginning of their career. This article investigates whether young men and women with vocational education and training receive different returns for occupation-specific and general skills - a topic that has hitherto received little attention. Theoretically we draw on devaluation and expectation states theory as well as on the varieties of capitalism approach. The analyses are based on a combination of detailed occupation-level data on the specificity of training occupations and individual-level data from the Swiss Labour Force Survey on income of upper-secondary vocational diploma holders. The results from multilevel regression models show that the income of men and women is affected by a complex interplay between gender and skill endowment. Occupation-specific vocational skills secure high income in the early career for men who trained in male-typed or gender-neutral occupations only. Women profit from a large share of general knowledge. Furthermore, we find evidence for a general devaluation of female-typed skills. In sum, the finding imply that employers’ discriminatory remuneration practices, a general devaluation of female-typed skills and young people’s rational skill investment decisions jointly contribute towards the gender gap in income.

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