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HomeEmployment16.2% of gender salary gap between women and men´s earnings across EU
European Equal Pay Day

16.2% of gender salary gap between women and men´s earnings across EU


The latest figures show an average 16.2% gender pay gap in 2010 across the European Union. They confirm a slight downward trend in recent years, when the figure was around 17% or higher the previous years.

The declining trend in the pay gap can be explained by the impact of the economic downturn on different sectors, whereby sectors dominated by male workers (such as the construction or engineering sector) have seen bigger drops in earnings overall. The change is therefore not generally due to improvements in pay and working conditions for women. At the same time, the share of men working part-time or under less well-paid conditions has increased in recent years.

The "Equality Pays Off" project aims to make companies more aware of the "business case" for gender equality and equal pay. With the challenges of demographic change and increasing skill shortages, the initiative aims to provide companies with better access to the labour force potential of women. It includes training activities, events and tools for companies to address the pay gap. The project also aims to help reach the Europe 2020 Strategy target of raising the employment rate to 75% – for which greater participation of women in the labour market is essential.

Examples of good practices by companies seeking to tackle the pay gap include:

  • German media firm Axel Springer AG launched the “Chancen:gleich!” (Opportunities:Equal!) programme in 2010 with the objective of increasing the numbers of female managers to 30% of the company’s management within 5-8 years.
  • Kleemann Hellas SA, a Greek lift producer, aims to increase the number of women in sales and technical support, breaking stereotypes and reducing gender segregation. The “Diversity and Gender Equality” project increased female presence in the sales department from 5% in 2004 to 30% in 2012.
  • Lithuanian mobile communications company Omnitel’s project “Creating a family friendly work environment in the company” aims to make work-life balance part of the organisational culture by offering flexible working possibilities to their staff. This has increased the proportion of female managers.
  • IBM Germany’s “German Women’s Leadership Council” seeks to encourage women to take up a career in the IT industry by providing personal and cyber mentoring to students in schools. It also offers mentoring to young colleagues pursuing a management or specialist career.

Of interest