Although the EU introduced the equal pay for equal work principle in 1957, the gender pay gap stubbornly persists — 67 years later. Women in the block earn on average 12.7% less than their male counterparts. Unsurprisingly, the gender pay gap more than doubles in the tech sector.
According to a report by compensation platform Ravio, the European median reaches 26% with variations across countries. For example, it stands at 18% in France, 23% in the Netherlands, 25% in Germany, and 29% in the UK.
On the bright side, the pay disparity decreases at more senior levels, with women competing on more level playing field the higher up they get on the career leader. There’s a 0% gender pay gap at the executive level, followed by 17% at the manager level, and by 22% at lower levels.
There’s also no significant statistical difference (only about 1%) across genders when it comes to promotions and promotion-related salary increases.
However, the proportion of female workers decreases as the job level increases — just 19% of executives and 35% of managers are women. At the same time, women are overall underrepresented in the tech sector, accounting for 40% of the total headcount mix.
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This indicates that the pay disparity is mostly the result of the hiring process rather than of internal bias with internal salary increases and promotions.
New EU rules aim to address the gender pay gap
To tackle gender pay discrimination, the EU approved in May a new set of rules that establish binding pay transparency measures. The legislation — which will be rolled out across the bloc by 2026 — gives employees the right to pay information, requires companies to take action if their gender pay gap is over 5%, and includes fines and penalties for those who fail to comply.
According to the report, the majority of respondents (69%) aren’t concerned about the directive. The main reason why is that the legislation is “too far away to be a priority.” Existing plans to address the gap before the law comes into force and already established pay transparency measures are other reasons for the lack of distress.
But for the respondents who expressed concerns, the main issues are related to transparency. That is, making the framework and criteria for pay level and career progression available to employees.