02 feb 2018


CEOE ratifies its offer to work with the Government and the trade unions to advance in this issue through effective and constructive dialogue

CEOE’s Equality Commission believes that reducing the gender pay gap is a responsibility and a goal we all wish to accomplish, while stating that we should not misunderstand and consider “difference” and “discrimination” as synonyms, since they are not, even though both terms are often used erroneously.

CEOE’s Equality Commission
CEOE’s Equality Commission — ©CEOE

In this sense, the president of CEOE’s Equality Commission, Val Díez, explained that "the claim that 'equal work deserves equal pay' is a fair, logical and essential goal in our system of safeguards and within the framework of labour relations protected by law and under collective agreements. Any indication of discrimination, with regards to pay or any other issue, is reproachable and should be eradicated from our society, and companies should, therefore, reject and eliminate any direct or indirect discrimination against women. However, the fact that two people, whether men or women, are paid different amounts, does not necessarily mean that one is being discriminated against with respect to the other, because there may be individual elements that justify those differences.

Experience shows that, while companies are certainly important in the achievement of equal opportunities for women, in many aspects this achievement is actually conditioned by factors external to the workplace, involving the Administration, the co-responsibility of men with their partners and society as a whole.

The Equality Commission understands that there are several causes, some of a historical nature, that have contributed to generating the wage gap or difference:

-Some remunerated items such as seniority and certain bonuses, together with differences in professional orientation and length of working life, have mostly benefited male groups.

- The scarce female presence in the most prominent roles of the organizations. Companies must offer women equal opportunities to be promoted and to access positions of greater responsibility, and those around them must provide support so that they are willing and able to accept these positions.

-The higher percentage of women who request reduced working hours to take care of children or the elderly. The reasons that lead women to be the ones that most often take on family burdens are beyond the scope of company management, and these issues should be balanced through the co-responsibility of men and additional support measures that should be offered by the Administrations (day-care centres, aid to care for dependent individuals, etc.).

CEOE’s Equality Commission positively values progress already made by companies and the current transparency measures that, within the internal management and under the scope of companies, are being developed in compliance with the Equality Law. It’s a path of no return, in which significant progress is being made, as reflected on the Eurostat figures where the wage gap in Spain is 15% below the EU average.

During the Commission’s meeting, other aspects that were highlighted included the importance of having accurate and approved salary statistics and an appropriate assessment of the methodologies used to obtain reliable conclusions, as well as researching further into the causes of the existing differences and being able to approach the subject in the proper way.

Other noteworthy remarks point out that if we are to move forward in a serious, rigorous and transparent way, given the huge differences in case studies between different sectors and types of companies, the most effective formula would be through collective bargaining and dialogue with workers' representatives in each company.

Whatever measures may be adopted from a regulatory point of view should be of a positive nature, encouraging self-regulation, continuing to raise awareness among workers and entrepreneurs regarding the management of diversity, talent and the effective recognition of equal opportunities. From CEOE we insists on training as an essential element to achieve this awareness in issues related to equality and co-responsibility in all areas in order to continue with the needed cultural and social change and for the achievement of an effective equality.