Being a HR Professional, there is a lot of work that goes into pay structures and performance reviews to ensure they are consistent and fair. Even once they are implemented it is important to not simply forget about it as position requirements or needs for talent fluctuates. With these fluctuations, there might be an exception to the rule and that is where a company can unintentionally end up in some hot water. After reading this week’s readings I wanted to know more about what other countries gender pay gap was like.
The European Union (n.d.) reports “women in the EU are less present in the labour market than men”. What was very interesting is the European Union (EU) had mentioned this issue is beyond the issue of discrimination. There is an overrepresentation of women in low-paying sectors while predominately men are in STEM sectors which are high paying sectors. It is also discussed how women make up less than 10% of companies’ CEOs and in the EU managers who are women have a 23% lower earnings compared to male counterparts. Another issue is work-life balance, typically women take on greater care-giving roles in the household which means women are spending fewer hours working for pay, which may be a contributing factor to their career paths.
Most notable are the difference between the EU countries. “The gender pay gap ranges from less than 8% in Belgium, Italy, Luxembourg, Poland and Romania to more than 20% in Czechia, Germany, Estonia and United Kingdom” (European Union, n.d.). It is reported that this is usually because women are primarily in low-paying sectors and work part time (European Union, n.d.).
From my professional experience, working as a Human Resources Advisor supporting small American businesses, it is evident that the gender pay gap is only a result of discrimination. Recently, I had assisted a male employee arranging his leave of absence because his wife was expecting a baby. He anticipated taking 3-4 weeks to bond with this baby and provide care for his wife after giving birth. The female business owner, the employer, connected with me because she wanted to deny his request since he was not the one birthing the baby. Luckily, in the state of New Jersey employees pay into the Family Leave Insurance program and employers are prohibited from retaliating against employees and this employee was eligible for it.
There needs to be a change is social views that it is ok for men to provide care for their families and take time off to bond with a new baby. Leaders can take a look at succession planning for the low paying sectors and how to grow those positions. It is evident that there needs to be a policy change to help promote women into high paying sectors while making it ok for men to take the time they would like to without the negative stigma.
As a global leader, what are some policy recommendations you would make?
European Union. (n.d.). The gender pay gap situation in the EU. Retrieved from: https://ec.europa.eu/info/policies/justice-and-fundamental-rights/gender-equality/equal-pay/gender-pay-gap-situation-eu_en