Applause for Neelie Kroes, the Dutch European Commissioner who can translate women’s affairs in real issues instead of traditional conventions. Two days ago, Mercer published another of its research results: women in top positions and at middle management level earn less than men: in the Netherlands 14% less. That is a lot for the same work!
In a blog a few weeks ago, I already criticized Mercer for its way of analyzing research results. To explain the fact that there are few Dutch women in top positions, Mercer found excuses like these and I quote my former blog: ”The Netherlands is a progressive nation but, like the UK, has very high levels of women working part-time”. However the UK still has a score of 28% of women in top positions, much higher than The Netherlands. Half of the high educated women in the Netherlands do not have children and do not work part time… so that can’t explain the figures.
Now how does Mercer analyze the new research results of women earning 14% less that men? Merel Verwoest, Head of Reward Consulting Benelux at Mercer explains that although discrimination could be the case, it is also because women quitted work for a few years to care for their children and that they work parttime more often than men do. Oh boy… here we are again… Mercer is fixated on women having children and working parttime….
A better reason Merel also gives is the fact that women in the Netherlands are more often into marketing or HR, functions that pay less than direct operational functions. Nice that they add this, but apart from this it it tiring to see Mercer repeat old-fashioned arguments again and again.
Neelie Kroes, commissioner in the European Union, was on Dutch television today and she was asked for her opinion about this subject. She came up with an explanation that showed much more insight in the matter: ‘women are less able to negotiate about salaries’, she said. Simple and true, applause for Neelie Kroes to be direct and concrete like always! The word ‘able’ in the negotiation is well chosen because it is two-sided. Any man with a parttime job and children will still obtain the maximum salary, but women don’t. Money is not about children or parttime work, that is a political correct excuse used by people who ‘do not want to accuse anybody’; like Mercer.
Neelie Kroes is not accusing anybody, but she helps us further by just telling the truth and encouraging society to learn something. If Neelie Kroes was not yet European Commissioner, Mercer should ask her to be their new top manager; they’d definitely learn and flourish that way.