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Beyond the Gender Pay Gap: Reinforcing a Level Playing Field in the Workplace

The EU pay transparency directive is here to stay. Is your business ready for the equal pay revolution?

Updated: November 27, 2023 10 mins read Published: October 31, 2023

Despite some progress, the gender pay gap in the European Union remains persistently high, with women earning on average 13% less per hour than men. In response, the European Parliament has adopted the EU directive on equal pay and pay transparency, aimed at closing this gap in the European Union. Though the conversation on gender equality with regards to workers’ pay has been around for years, many companies have been taken off guard by the new law and now must move fast to adapt to the new reality.

Long before the EU directive on pay transparency was approved, we started building a culture of fairness, equality, and inclusion at Intellias. The values reflected in the EU directive resonate with our own long-standing values, and we want to share our transformation journey, wisdom we’ve gained along the way, and our own solutions that can help other organizations embrace the transition to pay transparency.

The EU pay transparency directive: On the way to a gender-equal Europe

The new EU directive around pay transparency was adopted on March 30, 2023, and is expected to be transposed into national legislation of EU member states within three years. The goal of this directive is to reinforce the principle of equal pay for equal work between men and women. The directive promotes fair pay and strives to tackle the gender wage gap through pay transparency standards and enforcement mechanisms.

Today’s adoption of the pay transparency directive is a significant step towards addressing the gender pay gap in the European Union and increasing women’s economic and financial independence.

Helena Dalli, EU Commissioner for Equality

The EU rules on pay transparency include a series of binding measures that touch on many aspects of the employment process and will have a huge impact on companies’ reward policies:

Gender pay gap reporting

The directive introduces gender pay gap reporting obligations, compelling companies to disclose information on gender-based pay disparities and conduct joint pay assessments in cooperation with employee representatives if the gender pay gap exceeds 5%.

Pay transparency measures

The directive establishes provisions to promote a culture of pay transparency within organizations, encouraging employers to promote salary fairness. Prior to employment, employers must disclose salary ranges to future employees and cannot inquire about a candidate’s pay history.

Equal pay for equal work

The directive strengthens the principle of equal pay for equal work, emphasizing that employees should receive remuneration without gender-based discrimination.

Factors of unequal pay for men and women

Source: European Council

Right to information

Employees have the right to access workforce pay information, broken down by gender, to determine whether they are compensated fairly compared to other employees doing the same work or work of equal value. The directive also gives employees the necessary tools to claim their right to equal pay.

Job-related criteria

The directive emphasizes the importance of using objective, gender-neutral, and bias-free criteria when determining pay levels, such as skills, experience, effort, responsibility, and qualifications.

Remedies and sanctions

The directive establishes effective remedies for those experiencing pay discrimination and sanctions for non-compliance, including financial penalties, to ensure enforcement of pay transparency measures.

Equal work deserves equal pay. And for equal pay, you need transparency. Women must know whether their employers treat them fairly. And when this is not the case, they must have the power to fight back and get what they deserve.

Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission

The implications of the directive go far beyond pay transparency in the EU. The directive will increase employee involvement in addressing pay equality and conducting regular pay audits. It will also impact recruitment, pay, and reporting processes and raise the profile of equal pay across the EU, Switzerland, the UK, and beyond.

The directive’s obligations are a vital component of a broader European initiative extending well beyond gender equality. Employers will also be required to proactively pursue workplace diversity and implement inclusive policies. This aligns with Europe’s vision for a forward-looking Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) strategy to ensure long-term sustainability.

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How can companies prepare for the new law before it comes into force?

The countdown has started, and organizations need to take action to get ready for big changes before the directive’s provisions go into effect in 2026. While establishing gender equality and pay transparency in the workplace is a complex challenge, it helps companies foster a culture of fairness and build trust and credibility among employees. Here are some of the proactive measures employers can take to narrow the gender pay gap and maintain a forward-thinking approach.

  • Carry out an internal pay audit based on objective data and statistics to identify potential gender pay gaps and take corrective actions. This will help employers analyze current pay practices and make an action plan to address pay inequality.
  • Review job evaluation and pay structure to ensure transparent salaries and a fair pay system where roles and responsibilities are based on gender-neutral, unbiased criteria. Involve employees’ representatives, create systems for fast detection of salary differences, and introduce reporting procedures to be able to comply with the EU pay transparency directive.

Employees enjoying their team meeting

  • Establish clear pay policies and procedures in recruitment, performance evaluation, career advancement, and compensation to address pay discrimination. Make sure employees know what steps they should take to voice concerns and seek compensation for unfair treatment.
  • Raise awareness by training HR and management personnel on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) principles to ensure step-by-step implementation of equal pay, salary transparency, and non-discrimination standards.

By adopting these strategies to tackle the gender pay gap, companies can not only align with new EU rules but also position themselves as employers of choice that cherish equality and fairness in the workplace.

The Intellias way: A look back at our journey to workplace equality and wellbeing

Building a people-first culture and fostering a healthy and supportive environment have always been part of our DNA. United by the spirit and values of respect, support, and trust, we have watched our company expand its reach, grow across geographies, and finally go global.

As we witnessed the worldwide movement for transforming society and the workplace through eliminating gender-based inequality, we knew change should start with ourselves. And we knew right away we wanted to join the initiative of building a gender-equal world. This is how our transformation began and why it continues to this day.

In March 2021, Intellias became the first IT company in Ukraine to sign the United Nations Women’s Empowerment Principles (WEPs) as part of our commitment to advocating for gender equality and women’s rights, strengthening the role of women in business and supporting their leadership and decision-making. We defined an action plan for implementing WEP principles in our leadership, management, work style, and community. The plan included building a strategy for achieving gender equality, promoting leadership and professional development of women, and providing training on non-discrimination and equal opportunities.

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Today, equity, diversity, and inclusion are among our core values. Almost 28% of Intellias employees are women, with 18% being involved in software development, project management, business analysis, and testing. Nearly 44% of women in Intellias now hold management positions. Our women employees are united by the IntelliWomen Community, which provides a company-wide creative platform for professional and personal development.

In tune with global initiatives for human rights and sustainability, Intellias has:

  • signed the Declaration for Gender Equality and Prevention of Domestic Violence by the United Nations Population Fund and the Center for Corporate Social Responsibility Development
  • joined the United Nations Global Compact initiative — a voluntary leadership platform for developing, implementing, and disclosing responsible business practices
  • launched the Corporate Responsibility Program 2025 that spans environmental, social, and governance (ESG) principles and is inspired by the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals

Our involvement with these global initiatives keeps us focused on supporting our people, communities, and the wider world in building a future-focused model where economic growth is achieved without compromising the value of individuals, society, and the environment.

Smiling male and female team members

The transformations we started are still underway, but we’re beginning to see the fruit of our efforts. Our employees work in a safe and fulfilling environment, enjoying an atmosphere of camaraderie, team spirit, and fairness. Intellias is now widely known among tech professionals as an equal opportunity employer and has been recognized as the #1 IT employer by Forbes Ukraine, named the employer of choice by EY Ukraine, and awarded by CSR Ukraine.

How we do it: Tools that fuel our transformation success

The equal opportunity transformation at Intellias wouldn’t be possible without a set of tools and practices we’ve developed as the building blocks of our equality strategy. These flexible monitoring tools and clearly defined practices are integrated into our corporate Equal Pay Solution for analyzing the Intellias pay structure, identifying inconsistencies, and ensuring unbiased remuneration across the organization. The solution consists of three main components:

  • Our non-discrimination policies are applied to sourcing talent, configuring teams, assigning leadership roles, and career development. They include our Diversity Recruitment and Hiring and Gender Equality and Equal Opportunity policies and provide comprehensive guidelines on maintaining unbiased operations across the company. The goal is to ensure compliance with industry workplace standards at every touchpoint with colleagues and partners.
  • Customized Power BI reports and predictive analytics provide company-wide statistics on remuneration and reasons for job exits, factoring in age, gender, and ethnicity. Our Power BI reports for employee salary, headcount, and talent delivery allow for close monitoring of how corporate non-discrimination policies are executed and ensure transparent operations and equal professional opportunities for employees.

Types of compliance monitoring reports

  • Employee feedback mechanisms offer first-hand insights into corporate workflows and implementation of equal pay standards in the workplace. Regular surveys, anonymous reporting forms, People Partner and Team Buddy roles, and direct communication channels with line managers and HR representatives provide employees with safe and effective ways of addressing work-related concerns.

We keep building on our Equal Pay Solution, refining our policies, and developing new tools for evaluating how employees’ skills and competencies correlate with their salary levels, regardless of gender. As we take big strides towards attaining pay equity and creating a just working environment in our company, we are equipping ourselves with the right approaches and tools to help other organizations conform to the requirements of the EU pay transparency directive.

How we help businesses adapt to the new normal

For employers seeking to navigate the complexities of pay transparency compliance and reduce pay gaps, our expertise and customizable solutions might be the fastest and most efficient way to adapt to the new norms of the EU pay transparency directive. Our experienced consultants work closely with organizations to establish new policies, adjust their practices, and communicate effectively with employees.

Each company is unique, which is why our team provides customized solutions tailored to each organization’s specific compliance needs. We adapt our services to align with the existing processes, culture, and industry requirements of each company. Our holistic data analysis addresses not only pay gaps but also an organization’s policies, workflows, seniority levels, job descriptions, and pay grades, ensuring a clear understanding of the current situation and delivering well-rounded recommendations.

Our approach to helping businesses adapt to the directive’s rules contains three major stages:

Stage 1: Discovery and assessment

At the first stage, we conduct a comprehensive assessment of current data, policies, and processes. Our team considers the company’s needs; analyzes approaches, tools, and transparency levels; and evaluates whether the existing system complies with the rules.

Together with key stakeholders, we agree on the project’s goals, expected results, and timeline. Then we set up a database to collect all data in one place, define the value of work performed, and assess the remuneration packages. Our team prepares a detailed report, analyzing pay gaps and providing strategies to reduce them.

As a result, the employer gains deep insights into the current situation and receives actionable recommendations for taking proactive steps towards compliance with the EU pay transparency directive.

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Stage 2: Developing the target concept

At the second stage, we work closely with the organization to implement necessary adaptations. Our team offers guidance in establishing gender-neutral evaluation processes and transparent, non-discriminatory recruitment, career development, and pay policies. We also assist employers in building effective communication with their employees, fostering understanding, engagement, and buy-in for changes.

As an outcome of this stage, the organization undergoes transformation and gets ahead in building a fair and inclusive work environment, promoting employee growth and advancement.

Stage 3: Monitoring and control

At the third stage, we focus on developing robust business intelligence (BI) reporting to proactively manage pay transparency within the organization in real time and ensure sustainable compliance with the EU pay transparency directive. Our team develops a customized BI reporting tool for continuous monitoring and streamlined generation of automated reports, saving time and resources.

Business intelligence tracks in light of value and complexity

Armed with powerful BI reporting for data-driven decision-making and proactive management of pay transparency, organizations can access real-time insights, automate reporting processes, and ensure ongoing compliance with the EU pay transparency directive.

The equal pay revolution is happening today: Why you should get ready

Embracing the EU equal pay and transparency directive demonstrates your company’s commitment to fair pay practices and gender equality, fostering trust and reputation among employees, customers, and stakeholders. This attracts highly skilled and diverse talent, as candidates seek companies that prioritize fair compensation and equal opportunities. What’s more, a transparent pay policy results in higher employee engagement, as employees understand how their contributions align with compensation, leading to higher productivity and motivation.

Finally, early adoption of pay transparency practices not only averts fines and legal consequences for non-compliance but also helps you future-proof your business to prepare for potential legislative requirements in other regions, ensuring you stay ahead of the evolving regulatory landscape.

At Intellias, we excel at delivering exceptional outcomes, working collaboratively with organizations to drive positive change and create a fair and inclusive work environment. Contact us to start your equal pay and pay transparency journey today!

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