Press release, 21 August 2008

Eurofound publishes annual report on pay increases across the European Union

Women still earn less than men in Europe

(DUBLIN, IRELAND) Women in Europe earn on average almost 16% less than men doing similar jobs, according to new data published by Eurofound’s European Industrial Relations Observatory (EIRO). The good news is that the gender pay gap in the EU15 countries is shrinking. The bad news, however, is that the pay gap between men and women doing similar jobs in the new EU Member States is wider than the EU average.

The gender wage gap averaged 15.9% across the EU27 in 2007, as indicated by the annual update on pay increases, which covers all EU27 Member States and Norway. This is down from the 16.2% recorded in 2006. Since 2001, the average wage gap in the EU15 countries has fallen: it stood at 20.4% in 2001, 19.2% in 2002, 18.6% in 2003, 17.4% in 2004 and 18.1% in 2005.

In the ten new EU Member States, and the newcomers Romania and Bulgaria (which together make up the NMS12 countries), the gender wage gap averages 17.8%, which is 3.4 percentage points higher than the average in the EU15. In the 2006 pay review, the gap for these NMS was found to be 17.5%, 2.2 points higher than the average in the EU15.

Among the 28 countries examined in the report, the gender wage gap is greatest in Slovakia (26.9%) and least in Slovenia (at 6.9%). Belgium, Greece, Ireland and Italy show a notably narrower gender wage gap of 10% or less. In Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, Germany, the Netherlands and Portugal, there is a comparatively wider wage gap of 20% or more.

The report also looks at collectively-agreed pay increases generally across the EU27 Member States and Norway, as well as in the chemicals, retail and civil service sectors. The report also looks at current wage rates and minimum wage increases, and increases in average earnings.

The full text of the report on pay developments is available.

For further information, contact Måns Mårtensson, Press Officer, at email or telephone +353-1-204 3124 or mobile +353-876-593 507.

The European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions (Eurofound, is a tripartite EU body, whose role is to provide key actors in social policy making with findings, knowledge and advice drawn from comparative research. The Foundation was established by Council Regulation EEC No 1365/75 of 26 May 1975. The Foundation is located in Dublin, Ireland.

The European Industrial Relations Observatory (EIRO) is Eurofound’s monitoring instrument offering news and analysis on industrial relations in all 27 EU Member States and Norway, and at European level.

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