New wage transparency rules could help women negotiate better wages

The EU’s new Pay Transparency Directive will not close the gender pay gap by itself. But it will help.

After all, if you want to close the gender pay gap, you first need data. Under the new directive, EU companies will have to share information about how much they pay men and women for work of equal value and take action if their gender pay gap is greater than 5%.

The new guideline contains provisions on compensation for victims of wage discrimination and sanctions, including fines, for employers who violate the rules.

Equal pay for equal work

Women in the EU currently earn an average wage 13% less than their male counterparts. Although the principle of equal pay for equal work has been an EU right since 1958, it has not improved in ten years. In fact, the pay gap in the EU has remained the same or even worsened slightly less than half of the organizations who have reported it in the past two years.

Such inequality has lifelong consequences. Inequality in pay not only puts women at greater risk of poverty during their working lives, they also contribute to it the pension pay gap in the EUwhich is currently 30%.

The new rules require employers to inform job seekers about the starting salary or salary range of advertised positions, both in the job description and prior to the interview.

Employers are also prevented from asking candidates about their salary history. Making an offer based on the wage history only maintains the wage gap.

Once in a position, employees have the right to ask employers for information on average pay levels (broken down by gender) for categories of employees doing the same job or work of equal value.

wider problem

However, according to the OECD, the pay gap is a much broader problem in both society and the labor market. After all, a woman who finds out that she is underpaid has only three options: do nothing, negotiate a higher wage or file a wage claim. It is a huge burden to have to identify and address and fix the problem.

And while transparency laws can give employees more information, “their effectiveness largely depends on employees having the bargaining power to bargain collectively or individually — and to negotiate without backlash, which is less likely for female employees.”

That’s not good, given that women are less likely than men to negotiate a higher salary in the first place, “and when they do negotiate, they often face backlash or a ‘social punishment’,” says the OECD.

In the United Kingdom, equal pay has been a legal requirement for decades and is currently governed by the Equality Act of 2010. The problem is that an employer with effective pay policies could still have a gender pay gap if, for example, all senior jobs are occupied by men and the majority of women in lower paying jobs.

This in itself points to the bigger problem.

Women tend to have more gaps in their careers for caregiving reasons and are also more likely to work part-time. This means that women are more likely to find themselves in lower-paid occupations than men and that wages fall as women move over time into sectors previously dominated by men.

Research also suggests that men are more likely to engage in salary negotiations than women.

Even where pay transparency rules are in place, such as in California and New York, there are fears that employers are simply circumventing this by offering “salary ranges” that are so broad as to be practically meaningless.

Similarly, employers can get around the problem altogether by simply not advertising and using third-party search solutions instead.

If you’ve decided to move somewhere that makes you feel more valued, there are plenty of great job opportunities on the House of Talent Job Board:

Senior Art Producer, Improbable, UK Remote

Improbable is a British metaverse technology company pioneering new ways to connect, play, create and build value in interconnected virtual worlds. It is recruiting a Senior Art Producer who is responsible for overseeing the entire art production pipeline.

The company is actively working to improve the pay gap, with the most recent report on the gender pay gap finding that the representation of women in the UK increased by 3.5 percentage points to 24.8%, and that the gender pay gap decreased by 0.76 percentage points to 23%.

Senior software engineer (Java) for B2B (all genders), Zalando, Berlin

Progress is important at Zalando, which has made rapid progress in the area of ​​”Women in Leadership”. Women occupy now 37.5% of leadership positions, to a target of 40-60% by the end of this year. In 2021, the company reported that the average pay gap between men and women between women and men with the same job and location at Zalando was less than 1%.

If you want to work there, there is a vacancy for a Senior Software Engineer (Java) for B2B in Berlin. You design technical solutions to expand Zalando’s performance capabilities to external brands and partners.

iOS Engineer, Depop, London

Depop is the community-powered fashion marketplace for buying and selling circular fashion, with over 30 million registered users in over 150 countries. The company is hiring a mid-level iOS Engineer within its London HQ or Manchester office on a hybrid basis.

Depops 2021 Gender and Ethnic Pay Gap Report found that the company has a gender split of 47% women and 53% men, and when it comes to pay, the average gender pay gap is 14.3%, something it is open about and actively working on.

For even more inspiration for great jobs in great companies across Europe, visit the House of Talent job board today