back to article The great leveller: Nokia waves magic wand over unfair wage differences, and *poof* they're gone

Nokia has removed all unexplained or unjustified wage differences among all its staff around the world as part of a review announced in May. The review was carried out by an external HR consultancy, which found 90 per cent of those affected were women. Nokia set aside funds to remove differences that could not be explained by …

  1. Popsi

    From afar

    Seems there's only a wage-gap when people don't look too closely. What a surprise!

    If one could get away with paying women 20% less for the same work, why would any sane employer still hire men? Those 20% would have a far better use as profit for the shareholders or management bonus, going by the universal CEO-handbook.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: From afar

      Because it's not normally as simple as 'if women; pay *0.8'

      Your senior guys hired in the 80s are men, your new junior recruits are 50:50

      Your senior woman engineers have been in the company since the 80s getting the same 2% raises as the men - but then you hired a bunch of men from Microsoft and paid them silicon valley wages.

      Your male staff have switched job 5x as often, getting a 20% bump each time. Your salary is based on what you were making at the previous job.

    2. Alfred

      Re: From afar

      The evidence indicates that companies are no more the hypothetical perfectly economically-rational entity than individuals are.

      1. MonkeyCee Silver badge

        Re: From afar

        "Your senior guys hired in the 80s are men, your new junior recruits are 50:50"

        In my experience the way that companies are trying to correct the imbalance is to hire as many women juniors as possible. This is results in what I refer to as "seahorse" companies, consisting of only young women and old men.

        Like many issues, this means that the current younger generation gets to pay for the crap previous did. Sorry we were sexist pigs, to make up for it we're going to be nice to the latest generation. Hire women of the same age as the men in our company? Oh no no, we kept those ladies oppressed for a reason....

        "Because it's not normally as simple as 'if women; pay *0.8'"

        Indeed, it's more like "if have kids; pay 0.8". The wage gap between men and women with no kids is almost non existent (over 40 men get about 1% more, under 40 women get about 2.5% more) compared to the gap between anyone with 1-2 kids.

        The reason it appears more gendered is because women are expected to look after the kids. Yes, even by the woke feminist guardian readers. It's interesting to watch them struggle with the fact that they're busy judging me/my ex over me staying home with the baby, but also trying to be supportive.

        1. eldakka Silver badge

          Re: From afar

          Indeed, it's more like "if have kids; pay 0.8".

          It's not that simple either.

          If person A has 0.8 the experience of person B, then pay person A 0.8.

          Now, when you have people of the same age, the chances are very good, at least until recent generations, that person A has had kids so therefore has taken a few years off work. Therefore two people 45 years old, person B might have 20 years experience, whereas person A took 4 years off to look after the kids, therefore has 16 years experience. Therefore based on those numbers alone, that'd be why person A is getting 0.8 the pay of person B, because they have 0.8 of experience in that job.

          But this, obviously, disproportionately affects women as they have tended to have taken the time off to look after the kids. This is starting to change, as it is becoming more common - though still much less so than for women - for men to takeover some or even a large portion of that time.

          So no, it's not "have kids, get 0.8", it's "you are not 100% dedicated to our company, how dare you take time off and have a life and commitments outside work, you should be here for 16 hours a day, 7 days a week, therefore we are penalising you by paying 0.8". It just so happens that the majority reason for this disturbing lack of servitudededication to the borgcompany is due to the ingratesstaff having kids.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Cool, cool...

    So...90% of women at Nokia were underpaid for unexplained reasons.

    I can think of a clear reason with that's not the one you think.

    ...women don't ask for pay rises.

    1. JetSetJim Silver badge

      Re: Cool, cool...

      No, not 90% of women at Nokia were underpaid:

      "...which found 90 per cent of those affected were women"

      and the objective was to "remove all unexplained or unjustified wage differences"

      and lastly, "Salaries for Nokia's 103,000 staff were changed from the beginning of July"

      It's a bit weird that they say that 90% of those affected were women (and there are about 20k women in Nokia), and then they say their entire workforce's salaries were updated. Seems like if *all* women at Nokia were affected, then at most 22k staff would be affected. Reading the Google-Translated version of the Finnish article (YMMV), it doesn't say at all how many staff were affected, just that 90% of them were women

      Anyway, it may well be that "female tech staff member A got a pay rise because male tech staff member B was earning more for the same job at the same performance level", or it may be that "female tech staff member A got a pay rise because female staff member B was earning more for the same job at the same performance level" (and similar for male-male comparisons). No stats are provided in this article that can be used to derive some form of sexual (or other) discrimination on Nokia's part.

      It also doesn't say discrimination of any form didn't happen, so I'm not saying it hasn't. Just that the Register article doesn't say anything.

      Again, RTFA gives us that the pay gaps were caused by old interview practices asking for previous salaries and offering a bit more to get someone in, or from job mobility within the organisation, changing job/country and not getting a raise.

      As to how staff took the message - in the UK, at least, you can't force a pay cut on anyone without their agreement, so I guess everyone got a pay rise to the highest common denominator - with HR wielding the "same job, same performance" to keep some variability...

      A bit curious as to how they might factor in the duration of performance into their calculations. One might hope that a consistent underperformer who just before this exercise manages to pull their socks up for once and get into the Excellent category of performance doesn't get a good salary bump to match their colleague who was getting Excellent for the last 10 years.

    2. Esme

      Re: Cool, cool...

      We might tend to ask less often but here's the thing - even when we do ask for pay rises, we are very seldom given them. If, after asking several times for a pay rise and being refused, one tends to start looking for new jobs instead of carrying on asking for a payrise that clearly isnt going to happen.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Does that more pay or less?

    So, did they reduce the pay of ~everyone to match the underpaid, or raise the pay for the previously underpaid?

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Does that more pay or less?

      "So, did they reduce the pay of ~everyone to match the underpaid, or raise the pay for the previously underpaid?"

      I received an increase as part of this review, which answers your question - I'm also male, which might help answer other questions.

      1. Nunyabiznes

        Re: Does that more pay or less?

        Thanks for the info.

  4. Nunyabiznes

    So you *can* do the right thing as a corporation. Who would have thought?

    1. JimJimmyJimson

      Why is it neccesarily the right thing?

      Most companies aren't (or shouldn't be) a socialist workers collective. And people should be paid what they can negotiate. If I was hired in a time of job scarcity then I might accept lower pay, in the opposite situation i might be able to get a better package. Is it then fair that either party should be advantaged or disadvantaged just because the labour market conditions that existed when they were hired no longer exist. Certainly the employer has operational needs to meet - so they may neccesarily choose to pay a premium at certain times which they shouldn't then have to extend to all other workers.

      1. Nunyabiznes

        You are conflating job scarcity with having a penis or not. That's two different things bucko.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Nokia are an awesome company

    What are Nokia known for... mobile phones of course. What if I tell you Nokia was founded in 1865...!

    150+ years of innovation and reinvention, they know a thing or 3 about running a decent company, and this latest episode is no exception. Well done Nokia.

    As for why women are paid less, take your pick:

    1) Women don't ask for pay rises as often as men (they should of course).

    2) Women value the job and their friends, more than men do, so are much less likely to demand: "Give me 5% more or I'm leaving!"

    3) Women value their working environment, situation and circumstances far more than bank balance.

    4) Mothers tend to have less experience than men, harsh perhaps but true. Why should a company effectively pay for their time off work?

    According to Jordan Peterson, if you choose to believe him, no credible study has ever shown there to be a gender pay gap, when ALL the variables are included in the analysis.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Not that awesome

    There is no transparency on pay in Nokia. Even with this process, the pay rises came as part of the annual review. If you got a pay rise, you would not be told what how much of that raise was due to you being inexplicably underpaid in proportion to how much you were given due to meeting personal/company objectives for that year. I'm guessing this is because they didn't want those employees affected to be telling anyone exactly how much they had been getting shafted. You are also not privy to your salary range according to your job level/grading in the company and told categorically not to discuss pay with peers. This whole thing seemed more like a PR exercise than anything else, especially when employees were actively encouraged to share the news.

    From my experience, you are paid whatever you can negotiate. If you don't ask (providing good reason), you don't get.

    I'm rather cynical when when companies seem to want to shout from the roof tops about what good they're doing to address apparent inequalities for arbitrary groups according to hashtag statistics. Next year I'm hoping they will look into the ginger pay gap but I won't hold my breath.

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