Our Position

Public consultation on ‘equal pay’

Public consultation on the Evaluation of the relevant provisions of EU law implementing the Treaty principle on ‘equal pay for equal work or work of equal value’

Eurocadres welcomes the public consultation and has decided to submit a policy document, highlighting our overall stand on pay gap challenges of women in professional and managerial positions.

European women are more and more highly-skilled, and a growing number of women graduate with tertiary education. Not only is advancing to managerial positions a challenge, but the wages of women are also lagging far behind. Eurofound estimated in 2018 that the cost of the gender employment gap is €370 billion per year across the EU member states. Even the statistics speak for themselves. According to Eurostat the gender pay gap is 16.2% in the EU: varying from less than 8% in Belgium, Italy, Luxembourg, Poland, Romania, and Slovenia to more than 20% in Austria, the Czech Republic, Germany, Estonia and United Kingdom.

The European Equal Pay day – which usually occurs at the beginning of November – symbolises the day that women should stop working, as the remainder of the year is unpaid compared to men. For women in managerial positions, the gender pay gap is as high as 23.4%. It is worrying that women earn university degrees at a higher pace than men, without being compensated by wage or position on the labour market. Eurocadres, representing professionals and managers, emphasises the importance of having equal representation of men and women in boards and managerial positions. Being in higher positions lead to higher wages, even though there is a lot of work to be done to decrease the gender pay gap.

The unfair distribution of wages affects women on so many levels. Not only are women of childbearing age being sided from promotions, but the gender pension gap is also driving some women to poverty. Still to this day, there is a stigma to openly talk about earnings and wages. Often it turns out that women who do exactly the same tasks as their male colleagues are paid significantly less. It happens even if the principle on equal pay for equal work should prevail. Lacking measures in pay transparency is one of the biggest hurdles to equal pay.

Segregated labour markets add on to the problematics of the gender pay gap. Traditionally ‘female’ professions in the social sector are often paid less that traditionally ‘male’ sectors, viz. industrial or technical professions. Gender stereotyping already starts at an early age, and therefore Eurocadres would like to see stronger European policies on breaking these traditional views and career paths. Encouraging more girls into STEM[1] subjects is one way forward and more boys into social fields another.

Furthermore, women often fall into the trap of part-time work: on one hand it is a good way to slowly get back into working life after maternity leave, but on the other hand it can be a forced result of expensive child care. Therefore, access to affordable child care and encouraging fathers to share the burden are needed for change to happen. We need wide-ranging policies in improving gender equality to cut down on the gender pay gap in a larger perspective.

[1] Science, technology, engineering, mathematics