on Twitter, the success of a hashtag against wage inequality

With every social event, #MeToo. In the past ten days, wages have been at the heart of a major operation of transparency on the Internet, through the hashtag #balancetonsalaire (in reference to the #balancetonporc that followed #MeToo). Initially launched as an operation to defend Total employees, who were accused of being held hostage in France despite shocking salaries, the hashtag quickly went viral, with around 30,000 tweets recorded since October 13.

Support for Total strikers

In mid-October, in the midst of a refinery strike, Total’s management decided to reveal in a press release the emoluments of refinery operators: €4,300 gross and €5,000 including bonuses and profit sharing. When we know that on average, private sector employees earn €3,300 gross per month (even lower if we talk about the median salary), the oil company is undoubtedly hoping for separation of the French from the strike movement.

However, the operation did not have the desired effect. In addition to the endless controversies over the truth of the figures announced by Total – CGT makes salaries 40% lower and the return of the debate on the salary of his boss, Patrick Pouyanné, the French remained relatively supportive of the movement.

In the process, thousands of employees from many sectors of activity (caregivers, engineers, gardeners, teachers, etc.) decided to publish their salaries, to show their support, and also illustrate the gap in between the importance of their profession and their salary. . Like Delphine, nurse, thirty years of seniority, at €2,100 net per month, Benjamin, lecturer, baccalaureate + 8, at €2,500 net per month, or even Amandine, nursing assistant in cancerology, at €1,500 € per month. Everyone is convinced of the benefits of pay transparency…

The wage transparency debate has been revived

Despite the controversy at Total, the hashtag or hashtag #balancetonsalaire has revived in France the old debate on salary transparency in companies. For years, there have been increasing experiments around the world to move towards greater transparency, in the hope of reducing the unjust wage gaps that exist in particular between men and women. In France, women in the private sector still earn 16.5% less than their male counterparts in the same position in 2021 (compared to 14.1% on average in the European Union).

However, most studies show that when countries oblige companies to negotiate wages, this gap is reduced significantly. This is the case in the United Kingdom, with a 15% decrease in the gap since 2017 after the introduction of a transparency obligation in companies with more than 250 employees, according to a recent study by the Paris School of Economics.

To explain this phenomenon, an American researcher showed in 2020 that a significant part of the salary gap between men and women can be explained by the fact that the latter almost systematically ask for lower wages than their counterparts. man If they have access to a median salary in the company, women will feel entitled to ask for a higher salary.

The French are very much in favor of transparency

What about France? Since 2018, companies with more than 50 employees are required to publish a professional equality index based on a rating system based on 5 criteria, including the gender pay gap, or the pay gap of gender. promotions and individual raises. But, in the opinion of many observers, this declarative index will not be valid and detailed enough to change habits and thoughts.

Officially, the French said they were ready to proceed. In a recent survey, conducted by job search platform Talent among 1,010 employees, 64% of them said they were comfortable with the idea of ​​disclosing their salary to their colleagues, 80% considering that transparency would help to reduce unfair differences.

Beware, however, of collateral effects on team cohesion. Recently, a journalist colleague confessed to talking a few years ago in a very spontaneous way about his salary. “Some have criticized me that I am paid more than them, as if I am responsible for the company’s salary policy”he regrets it now.

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