WageIndicator News - 2008

Flexwage dominates? Less please. Little flexwage? More please.

Employees in sectors of the Dutch economy where flexwages are common, opt for more security. This applies in particular to the bank and insurance sector (4 out of 5 get a flexwage), ICT/telecom and the chemical industry (three quarters has flexwage). But in sectors where flexwages occur less, employees would prefer to see more of it. This appears to be the case in particular in textile, clothing and paper, agriculture and fisheries, as well as in retail, where less then 50 percent get flexwages.

This results from a study commissioned by FNV Bondgenoten – the largest trade union in the Netherlands – using the Dutch WageIndicator dataset to analyze ‘Flexible remuneration in the Netherlands’. The study results were debated during a special conference in June and have been published as a brochure with the same title by FNV Press.

Some other outstanding outcomes are: the lowly paid are less afraid of performance pay than the highly paid, and likewise elderly workers have less problems with being paid according to performance than their younger colleagues.

Flexibel Loon (in Dutch, pdf, 720 Kb)

Check ready for Decent Work Day October 7th

Amsterdam, September 10, 2008. Decent Work figures prominently on the world agenda. October 7th is dedicated to the promotion of decent work standards worldwide. See World Day for Decent Work. WageIndicator contributes the newly developed Decentworkcheck.org. This check allows the public to compare their work situations with the legal standard in their country as well as the relevant international conventions. www.decentworkcheck.org  is operational for three countries to begin with: India, the Netherlands and South Africa. The countries following suit first are Brazil, Argentina and Mexico.

The world of decent work is a complex one. It deals with issues such as: wages, health and safety, social security, pension rights. Many work life issues may now be checked in terms of their quality.

Christmas bonus still popular

Amsterdam, December 23, 2008 - Christmas bonuses or some equivalent form of annual premiums are the most fashionable form of bonuses in northwestern Europe, with the notable exception of the UK. This results from an analysis of the WageIndicator data for five European countries based on 176.178 questionnaires, completed from 2006 till the summer of 2008. In sum over 84 percent of workers got some kind of yearly allowance. Over 16 percent of the employees report that they did not get any form of yearly allowance, i.e. not even a holiday bonus, again particularly in the UK where only one in four got a holiday bonus.

Download the report from WageIndicator Publications 2008

Fathers earn more

Fathers earn more than childless men with the same age and education. This results from a recent study involving 4.285 Dutch men with higher education, both academic and professional. They participated in the WageIndicator survey during the last quarter of 2007 and the first of 2008.

Across the board fathers make a gross average of € 6 more. They earn around € 24.50 per hour as against € 18.50 by their less fortunate male colleagues. The childrens’ age has no significant impact on this gap. Therefore it seems, once the fathers’ lead has been established, it is there to stay.

Fathers earn more (in Dutch, pdf, 80 kB)

Global Wage Trend Report to draw on WageIndicator dataset

Amsterdam, April 16, 2008. Manuela Tomei during the WageIndicator event pointed out its potential contribution to the ILO-Global Wage Trend Report. Tomei, who heads the Conditions of Work and Employment Programme in Geneva, highlighted WageIndicator’s updated data on prevailing market wages, its easy access, wide dissemination and participatory approach - no problem of free-rider. It provides occupation specific data, which are internationally comparable. All this makes the potential contribution to the Global Wage Trend Report very valuable, she insisted.

WageIndicator may also help to eventually bridge the statistical divide between industrialized and developing countries. And anyhow, even in industrialized countries, more transparency is needed, Tomei said. This is key to an effective dialogue between employers and employees. To avoid the deadlock Tomei expressed as: “I don’t believe your dodgy data, and my data says the opposite”, but create trust instead.

Minimum Wage Check with report function

Amsterdam, January 8, 2008. Do the Minimum Wage Check and find out if you are paid less than the legal minimum in the Netherlands. And if you are, you may notify the Dutch Labour Inspectorate directly, using this tool. Since the beginning of 2008 this new service is online. For Polish migrant workers the tool is offered in Polish both at Loonwijzer.nl and at Twojezarobi.pl.

Multinationals bear national stamps

Amsterdam, February 21, 2008. A comparative study of multinationals active in the Netherlands, based on a sample of 60,000 respondents, reveal is that they differ in the cultures of the country of origin. Thus Americans import their ways, as the Japanese do. They don't like unionism or works councils, but cherish hard work. High achievers are welcome, but not pampered. See chapter 7 of Fabienne Fortanier's dissertation in the publications section.

Swiss National Science Foundation awards fellowship to Damian Raess for globalization project using WageIndicator data

Cambridge, September, 2008. On October 1, 2008, Damian Raess will join the Labor and Worklife Program at Harvard University - partner in the international WageIndicator project -  on a fellowship from the Swiss National Science Foundation. Damian did his PhD at the University of Amsterdam, currently Visiting Scholar at MIT.

His new project, entitled Labor in the Global Economy: Workers, Worker Representatives and Employers' Responses to Economic Globalization, will explore how increased international trade and investment affect labor relations and standards in developed and developing countries, and how labor market actors in different political economies are responding to economic openness. Studying working conditions and the responses of workers and employers to globalization in the developed and developing worlds will provide critical insights not only into the possibilities for improvement of conditions worldwide but also into the (dwindling) political support for an open global economy.

Tusalario.org/Colombia online

Bogota, May 20, 2008. The Colombian WageIndicator is operational, bringing the number of actively participating LA-countries to 5. For the occasion LA-coordinator Paulo Roberto Valle from DIEESE (Sao Paulo) visits Bogota and discusses next steps with his Colombian trade union partners from Confederación General del Trabajo (CGT). This latest extension is funded by the Dutch Christian Trade Union Confederation. Earlier this year Chile was brought online. Paper surveys in Guatemala and Paraguay are to follow soon.

Unpaid overtime and mental stress rule around the globe

Amsterdam, October 6-  2008.  On average 4 out of 10 employees work more hours than agreed in their contracts. On top, half of those working overtime are not compensated at all for the extra hours put in. This is the major outcome of an international study based on WageIndicator data. It compares Decent Work standards as perceived by almost 350,000 employees in 11 countries ranging from Europe, to Latin America and Africa. The findings are presented at the occasion of October 7th, World Day for Decent Work.

Next to the lack of compensation for overtime, employees from around the globe in equal measure report their work to be physically exhausting and mentally even more so. These work related stress patterns are measured on a scale from 1 (no stress) to 5 (daily stress). Exhausting physical stress is reported as an average 2.5 on this scale. Exhausting mental stress is experienced in all countries to be an average 3.5, thus manifests itself more frequently – regardless of the state of development of the economy.

Read the press release
Download the full report from WageIndicator Publications 2008

Wage penalty Dutch women re-entrants lower but still substantial

Amsterdam, November 13, 2008 - In 2007-2008, Dutch women who take a career break , accumulate a wage penalty to the amount of a substantial mortgage – but less so than in the period 2005-2006. Thus, in banking and insurance the average wage penalty recently has been calculated to be € 227,000 for women workers who decide to return at 35 at the latest. For 2005-2006 this figure still had been a quarter of a million euro. So, in absolute terms the wage penalty remains substantial. A slightly lower wage penalty can also be seen in retail and hospitals, but in public administration it remains unchanged. This wage penalty contributes to a large extent to the persistence of the gender pay gap. However the research on the WageIndciator dataset also points out several policy initiatives that may contribute to the narrowing of this gap.

The calculations focussed on women re-entrants in banking and finance where the wage penalty now is 227.090 euro (was 250.060); in public administration 187.760 euro (was 188.610); in hospitals 148.800 euro (was 196.600); and in retail 83.780 euro (was 118.210). Though the wage penalty in public administration remained almost unchanged, the other three industries show a decline. The researchers primarily credit the recent tense labour market in these sectors for this improvement. As a consequence, women re-entrants are now better paid than a couple of years ago.

Yet also premeditated policy initiatives can be effective. Initiatives to help narrowing the gender pay gap structurally researchers say are:
•    stimulate women to keep on working, raise awareness on the wage penalty;
•    open up career paths for women and offer concomitant training;
•    to fill vacancies in managerial ranks, prioritize promotion of women from within;
•    lower the age for paying the adult statutory minimum wage to 18 (instead of the current 23, the EU-record high);
•    raise the lowest collective wage scales in typical female sectors such as cleaning and retail.

The report ‘Close the gender pay gap‘  from 2007 – which contains the benchmark data from 2005-2006 and the policy initiatives mentioned - analyses the differences in 7 industries. It calculates an average gender pay gap in the Netherlands (not just for women re-entrants) of 18.3 percent, putting the country at place 17 of the 27 EU-member states in this respect.

WageIndicator China - 3 similar surveys

Beijing, May 13, 2008. In preparation of the official launch of the Chinese WageIndicator the ILO offices in Bangkok and Beijing organized a 2-day conference in the Chinese capital. Here the potential of the survey tool was debated, involving Chinese academic circles from Hong Kong and Beijing, as well as representatives from the Ministry of Labour. The result is that from the start in autumn 3 similar surveys will be held in Beijing: online, a classical random paper survey and a telephone enquiry. In this way cross checks and benchmarks will be built in. 

WageIndicator Gazette 19 - September 2008
- Finnish nurses use WageIndicator for industrial action
- Check ready for Decent Work Day October 7th
- Flexible income – who’s afraid?
- WageIndicator in Guatemala and Paraguay jump online
- Children beget money
- Working women in Argentina: 2 worlds apart
- German women engineers are no bridge builders
- Post docs to foster methodology team

WageIndicator Gazette - 18- April 2008
- When unions decline do WageIndicators step in?
- Input for collective bargaining across sectors in the EU
- Global Wage Trend Report to draw on WageIndicator dataset
- Foreign firms generally pay more
- Korea-record: completed questionnaire costs 50 eurocents
- WorkIndicators
- WageIndicator Conference reports

WageIndicator Gazette - 17 - January 2008
- Bi-annual worldwide conference on April 15 and 16 2008
- Lightning take off in Korea
- First Minimum Wage Check with report function online
- Tusalatin brings in 4 additional countries in Latin America and offline research
- Mojazarplata.org reaches out to the whole Russian speaking realm
- Follow up collective bargaining study brings France into the project
- Additional prize money once a year!
- International Longevity Center commissions research tool

WageIndicator in Guatemala and Paraguay jump online

Latin America - September, 2008. The present extension project into 4 additional Latin American countries shows dramatic progress in the outreach of Internet. Guatemala and Paraguay prove the point. These 2 countries would initially be brought in using paper surveys only, a choice guided by the very low Internet penetration of 7 and 3% respectively.

In the slipstream of bringing Chile and Colombia online Tusalario.org/Guatemala and Tusalario.org/Paraguay were launched in the second half of August. And within ten days they already attracted hundreds of visitors, without any prior marketing or promotion.

WageIndicator project will target young women in new project for 14 countries

Amsterdam, October 22, 2008 - The new project DECISIONS FOR LIFE focuses on 14 developing countries, notably Brazil, India, Indonesia, the CIS countries Azerbaijan, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Ukraine, and the southern African countries Angola, Botswana, Malawi, Mozambique, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe. It targets adolescent women in the service industries because these industries employ the majority of working women aged 15-29 and because these industries are growing in (almost) all 14 countries. The project zooms in on eight occupational groups, notably call centre operators, secretaries, bookkeepers, IT programmers, sales persons and cashiers in retail, front office workers / receptionists in hotels, travel agency intermediaries in tourism and housekeepers in hotels. It is estimated that in the 14 countries selected 10 to 12 million female adolescents aged 15-29 work in the services industries concentrated in urban areas. Among project partners ITUC, WageIndicator Foundation, UNI and University of Amsterdam.

When unions decline do WageIndicators step in?

Amsterdam, April 16, 2008. Trade unions are on the decline in traditional industries and public sectors, once their power base. Moreover individuals with enough market power do without collective organization and those with too little are not capable of it. This bleak future was painted by professor Jelle Visser - University of Amsterdam - in his contribution to the global WageIndicator event on April 16th in Amsterdam. Visser argued that there is room for an instrument like the WageIndicators to step in. Visser said, WageIndicators have a lighthouse function: they signal information for all , but they are not necessarily publicly paid. A WageIndicator provides signals to users about the wage norm or standard rate for particular jobs, or may identify pay gaps. This function of WageIndicators requires collective action. Therefore they may be easier to set up under conditions where unions have difficulties organizing. The only function WageIndicators cannot take over from the unions is the actual collective bargaining. But they may deliver input for the process, Visser concluded.

Win a minimum wage

Amsterdam, January 8, 2008. Additional prize money once a year! Submit your completed questionnaire and from now on you not only compete for a trip to Africa, as before, but also for the weekly/monthly minimum wage in the country where you work.

Worldwide average gender pay gap 16 percent

London, March 6, 2008. Worldwide the average gender pay gap is 16 percent. No matter how hard they study and even when they are better educated, women do not really catch up with the pay levels of their male colleagues. Amongst trade union members in general the gender pay gap is somewhat smaller.
For more results consult the ITUC Gender Pay Gap Report:

ITUC Gender Pay Report (480 kB)

ITUC Gender Pay Report, appendix (pdf, 1,2 MB)

World map, showing gender pay gap (pdf, 84 kB)

European map, showing gender pay gap (pdf, 63 kB)

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