The pay gap in the Netherlands is increasing: women earn 6.4 percent less than men

Dutch women are earning less than their male counterparts. The annual difference in salary is 5000 euros on average, which means that women are working three weeks a year for free. But the most staggering finding of a recent study by the Intermediair National Salary Survey and Nyenrode Business University is that the pay gap between men and women is steadily increasing.

Women under 36 are earning less, compared to men, than two years ago

You might expect that in a country such as the Netherlands, which markets itself as the land of gender equality, this would not happen. However, the biannual study conducted by the Intermediair National Salary Survey and Nyenrode Business University has shown that women in the Netherlands are still earning substantially less than men. For women under 36 years of age, there is a difference of 6.4 percent. This is an increase from 4.9 percent, which was the figure of two years ago. For women above 36 years of age, the figure is pretty much the same as that of two years ago- 8.9 percent. The reason 36 is the cut-off point for this comparison is because once women have children, their salary decreases even more when compared to men’s.

Why are women earning less?

Experts disagree as to why the Dutch women are earning less than Dutch men. Labor economist Ton Wilthagen from Tilburg University says that negotiating tactics definitely have something to do with the difference in an interview with RTLZ. Men, he says, are much more aggressive when negotiating raises on their salaries, whereas women don’t bluff as much, and are less likely to threaten to leave. However, Jaap van Muijen from Nyenrode Business Universiteit, who carried out this research, disagrees strongly with putting the blame on women. “You can’t just put this problem on women. It’s the organisation’s problem.” He advocates for increased transparency within companies about what they pay their employees, so women can see if they’re being paid less than their male colleagues.

Highly educated women have the biggest pay gap

The research contains yet more depressing news: the higher a woman’s level of education, the higher the salary gap between her and a male colleague. If a woman has a university education under her belt, the difference can be up to 12,000 euros a year; a professional education 8,000 a year; an intermediate vocational education 4,000 a year; and a high school diploma 3,000 a year. The differences are markedly high in the legal and financial sectors in particular.

Women often do unpaid overtime

The research, which surveyed 44,000 participants, revealed that women work, on average, for free for three weeks a year, due to the salary difference. But we also need to take into account that women often work parttime (usually 32 hours a week) but are expected to do the same amount of work as 40 hour week would require. This means that they will often have to stay later at work, or bring work home. This is much less of an issue for men, who usually have 40 hour a week contracts.

What can we do to solve this problem? Let us know in the comments below. 

Feature image: StockSnap/Pixabay. 

Ailish Lalor
Ailish Lalor
Ailish was born in Sydney, Australia, but grew up by a forest in south-east Ireland, which she has attempted to replace with a living room filled with plants in The Hague. Besides catering to her army of pannenkoekenplantjes, Ailish spends her days convincing her friends that all food is better slightly burnt, plotting ways to hang out with dogs and cats, and of course, writing for DutchReview.


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