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Catalyst World Watch: Europe

February 2, 2016Three important Issues we’re following in Europe this month:

1) The German Labour Market. Over a million asylum-seekers entered Germany in 2015 under its “Willkommenskultur  (welcome culture) policy.  With numbers expected to rise by another million in 2016, helping migrants to navigate their way into employment is a top priority. 

As part of this effort, Dr. Isabelle Kurschner, Catalyst's German Ambassador, will be speaking to a group of women immigrants on January 23, 2016 about the situation for women in the German labour market. She will be writing about this experience in an upcoming Catalyzing blog.

2) Paternity Leave in the Netherlands. With fewer than one in four Dutchmen taking unpaid paternity leave, the news that an Internet marketing company was giving its fathers four weeks paid paternity leave attracted a whirlwind of attention from the business community.   The company, Yonego, is far ahead of Dutch legislation, which allows new fathers only two days of paternity leave (to be increased to five days in 2017).

“It’s great to see that some large tech companies are beginning to realize the solid case for extended paternity leave,” says Caroline Pickard, Catalyst's Ambassador in the Netherlands. Watch for her upcoming blog on how this announcement has been received and what it tells us about Dutch society.

3) United Kingdom Mandates Reporting of Gender Pay Gaps. New legislation will be enacted in the UK this year requiring any company with a staff of 250 or more to publish the difference in salaries and bonuses received by male employees vs. those received by female employees each year.  Prime Minister David Cameron said in July 2015 that companies who pay men more than women would be “named and shamed.

The new transparency measures aim to close the UK’s pay gap between men and women, which currently stands at 19.1%, a figure described by Prime Minister Cameron as a “standing rebuke to our country.”

Catalyst research shows that the gender pay gap starts from day one in the workplace and that women MBAs in Europe are paid, on average, €4,255 less in their first job than men MBAs. Over a five-year period this gender gap in pay widened to over €36K, despite the women being equal to the men in qualifications, experience, and aspirations.

"We welcome this new level of transparency in pay which should allow women to manage their own careers more effectively,” says Allyson Zimmermann, Executive Director, Catalyst Europe. “Pay transparency provides women with the information they need to negotiate and ensure that they are being paid fairly.”  

The views expressed herein are solely those of the guest blogger and do not necessarily reflect those of Catalyst. Catalyst does not endorse any political candidates. The post and the comments are presented only for the purpose of informing the public.