The IT giant says it has shrunk the wage gap between men and women to four cents – this is how it happened – Economy

CGI, one of the largest employers in the IT sector in Finland, started a pay equality project many years ago, which is now starting to achieve its goals. The wage difference between men and women is only four cents, and there is an explanation for that too

The summary is made by artificial intelligence and checked by a human.

CGI’s Finnish company has almost eliminated the gender pay gap.

With the help of the wage equality project, the company found reasons for wage differences and corrected them.

The means used were, among other things, the allocation of salary budgets and the consideration of those on family leave in salary increases.

A new directive on salary transparency was approved in the EU last summer. Its final effects on Finland are still unclear.

Possible, but by no means simple or quick. You can make such a summary when you listen to the IT consulting giant CGI’s HR director in Finland By Saara Lindfors talk about pay equality.

In recent years, Lindfors has been at the forefront of CGI’s Finnish company’s project, where it has finally tried to eliminate the gender pay gap with real action.

According to the company, the project, which has now lasted more than three years, has almost reached the finish line. The salary difference between men and women employed by the Finnish company is only four cents per euro.

According to the company, this is also explained by the differences in, for example, employees’ experience or performance. According to the company, the so-called unexplained pay gap between men and women in the same position should have completely disappeared.

CGI is one of Finland’s largest employers in the IT sector. It employs almost 4,000 people in Finland.

The company, which was founded in the early 1970s, has been known in this millennium as, among others, Novo and Logica, until the Canadian consulting giant CGI bought the company in 2012.

38 percent of the Finnish company’s employees are women. According to estimates, only a good fifth of IT workers in Finland as a whole are women, but the proportion is on the rise.

According to Lindfors, when the pay equality project started, the pay gap between the sexes was about 15 cents. The famous women’s euro was therefore 85 cents.

Pay gap discussion the reading may seem familiar to those who have followed. According to statistics maintained by Statistics Finland, the wage gap between men and women, or the so-called woman’s euro, has been around 84 cents across the country in recent years.

The number has been disputed, as it is largely explained by differences in career orientation, long absences and working hours. When the industry, experience and work tasks of the men and women being compared are brought to each other’s level, the wage gap shrinks to a clearly smaller size.

However, there is a difference.

For example, in a survey conducted by Suomen Ekonomi in 2021, the unexplained salary difference between male and female economists working in similar positions with similar characteristics in the private sector was nine percent.

In the report published by the Juristiliitto in 2022, the unexplained difference was 7.4 percent.

In a report published by the technical trade union TEK in 2021, the median salary for women in the field of technology was 11 percent lower than the median salary for men, and the report found no clear reason for the difference.

In the 2021 salary statistics published by the Finnish Engineers Union, the median salary of female engineers working in expert positions was approximately 12 percent lower than that of male engineers.

Regarding the software industry, at least the industry’s interest association Software Finland has not clarified the situation from this point of view through research.

with CGI the change did not happen in an instant. First, tools had to be created for a real comparison of salaries.

“We still didn’t have such an advanced system that we could have used to truly compare those in different positions [työntekijöitä] and to find who are in the same position at the same level,” says Lindfors.

In practice, each employee was classified into a specific role and task level. At first, the classification was done on a rather rough level, but it was found to be insufficient.

Lindfors calls the final job a “huge job”.

“Training of supervisors, many rounds of iteration, many validations and checks to get that starting level.”

In the next step, the company made its classification model completely transparent to its personnel.

“We made it visible to every person in the system. Everyone can see their own classification and the reasons why they have been classified this way.”

 

 

CGI’s human resources director Saara Lindfors emphasizes the importance of ground work in the work of equal pay.

Lindfors calls classification groundwork. With that, the company’s management saw what the company’s real wage differences were like.

Information was also found on what caused the differences in the first place. One of the reasons was the industry background of the employees who applied to the IT sector. Female employees had been directed to the work tasks of the municipality, for example tasks related to health care.

On the other hand, there were more male employees in positions related to industry, for example.

Another root cause was found in the outsourcing and acquisitions through which CGI had grown. It has brought new employees to the company with very varied salary histories.

According to Lindfors, nowadays the company tries to identify already in contract negotiations if there is unequal pay in the company on the other side of the table.

“We will then be able to prepare for the repairs to be done by us,” says Lindfors.

Then it’s time to talk about concrete means. How was the pay gap bridged in practice?

One of the ways was to allocate salary budgets to women or to those areas where the salary gap was found to exist.

According to Lindfors, no one’s salary was reduced, but some employees have had to settle for small or non-existent raises due to wage differences.

Still, no major opposition or rebellion has arisen. According to Lindfors, the number of employees who have received zero raises has been small, and even these people have been clearly explained why the raise is smaller than the others. Wage differences have also been closed gradually, not all at once.

According to him, the most important thing has not been whether the salary is very possible, but that the salary seems fair.

According to Lindfors, it has also helped that the decision to allocate the salary budget has been a decision of the company’s management, which has been openly communicated to the employees.

“But, of course, if you ask a person if they would have liked to get a bigger raise, the answer is always yes.”

Second the concrete decision was to take employees on family leave into account during salary increase rounds. In practice, the wages of employees on leave were increased by the same amount as on average during the wage round.

Employees who had previously been on long leave missed out on that year’s salary negotiations.

“It was thought that the salary would be considered when [työntekijä] burn. But it never recovered to the level that had been lost.”

Lindfors advises other companies turning their attention to pay equality to carefully lay the groundwork at the beginning of the process. According to him, it enables a real and relevant comparison of salary levels.

“And the training of supervisors can never be underestimated. It was clearly a lesson for us. At first, we thought that these classifications would just be done quickly. Then we noticed that we see and evaluate things in completely different ways.”

Pay equality will remain in the discussion in the coming years as well. Last summer, a new directive on salary transparency was approved in the EU. The member states must make it a part of national legislation no later than the beginning of June in 2026.

So it is not yet known how exactly the directive will affect Finnish legislation. Osviitta can be obtained from the registration of Orpo’s board program, according to which the board promotes wage transparency in accordance with the minimum regulations of the EU directive.

The directive would specify and expand employers’ responsibilities in relation to wage transparency, but as such would not bring huge upheavals to Finnish legislation.

For example, the demand for equal pay, periodic salary surveys and compensation for proven pay discrimination are already in the current Finnish law. The implementation of the directive may bring some clarifications to these as well.

In Finland, the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health appointed a working group to prepare the implementation of the so-called salary transparency directive at the end of May. The term of office of the working group ends in March next year.

By Editor

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