Women’s euro is less than men’s
Akava has initiated a campaign aimed at promoting gender pay equality. The amount of women’s euro or female euro on the payslip remains significantly lower than that of men.
“In 2014, the total earnings of women were approximately 82 per cent of men’s earnings. This figure includes any result-based bonuses paid. In 2010, the earnings of women were about 81 per cent of men’s earnings, so there has essentially been no change,” says Joonas Miettinen, Researcher at Akava.
These figures were taken from the Structure of Earnings statistics published by Statistics Finland. Miettinen digs even deeper for older statistics. In 2006, the total earnings of women were approximately 79 per cent of men’s earnings.
This gender pay gap will continue to be a burden for today's wage and salary earners long into the future. Lower pay means a lower pension as well.
The gender pay gap varies by professional groupings and employer sectors. The gap is the least among senior specialists working for the State. In this group, women earn approximately 95 per cent of what men earn.
“The State has stepped up in terms of gender pay equality. Statistically, the greatest pay gap is found among directors in the municipal sector,” states Miettinen.
According to statistics, female directors employed by the State earn more than men, but there is a certain bias in the figures. Military officers are classified as higher civil servants. They earn less than other directors, and the majority of military officers are men.
The statistics of Statistics Finland contain no information about the earnings of directors or executives in the private sector. This means that the statistics are missing earnings information for about twenty thousand directors or executives. If earnings information for upper management in companies were to be included, it would likely amplify the gender gap. A study was carried out in Sweden that showed a difference of 27 per cent between the earnings of male and female directors within the private sector.
Career paths make a difference
Miettinen states that the gender pay gap is also affected by the type of careers that the different genders gravitate towards. Men typically choose professions with higher pay levels. Similarly, the pay gap is affected by the different career paths taken. Women stay for longer periods at home taking care of their families, and men are more often found in higher-paying managerial positions. Additionally, overtime compensation and result-based bonuses further increase the pay gap.
“This doesn’t explain everything, however, and there remains an unexplained difference in the earnings. When we compare the earnings of men and women employed in the same types of jobs, the women’s earnings are still lower than those of men,” explains Miettinen.
He says that Akava affiliates, such as TEK (Academic Engineers and Architects in Finland) and Finnish Business School Graduates, have surveyed the unexplained pay gap. The unexplained portion of the pay gap for Finnish Business Scholl Graduates was 11 per cent in the private sector and 4 per cent in State employment. The gap was lower among the TEK members, at about 5 per cent.
Employers have an obligation
Tarja Arkio, Senior Adviser at Akava specialising in working life issues, says that the unexplained pay gap is largely attributable to the attitudes and unawareness of employers.
“According to law, employers are obligated to pay the same wages for the same work and work of equal value, but some of the employers are apparently unaware of this fact. Employers are also responsible for conducting statutory pay surveys, which would expose differences in earnings.”
Arkio states that gender pay equality is an advantage for companies. According to research, equality in wages improves a company’s result. In Finland, for example, a study conducted by Aalto University showed that equal and justified treatment in terms of salary and wage determination improves pay satisfaction. It also increases employees' commitment to the organisation and creates a more positive atmosphere.
Arkio recognises that the process to diminish the pay gap is slow. In Finland, professions are highly gendered. In a study on the EU level, Finland has a relatively high number of fields dominated by men or women in comparison to other EU countries.
“Men do not transfer to women’s fields, but women have entered male-dominated fields," Arkio says.
After World War II, Finland had high success in exports, and men were employed in industry, transport and building. When the private and public service sector began to grow, it employed mainly women.
“This division has seen little change over the past decades," Arkio states.
- Text: Anssi Koskinen