We know that to make the most money in Hungary you have to be a 35-year-old man with at least 10 years of work experience, living in Budapest and working in a financial, IT or telecommunications field. But why do you have to be a man?
The website Fizetesek.hu has investigated how the gender pay gap has changed during recent years in Hungary. The results show that women make 21% less money than men receive for the same amount of work, and in higher positions the difference is even greater. It means that women would need to work about two months for free to receive equal wages.
Fizetesek.hu surveyed the gender pay gap in Hungary after a request by the European Commission. The EC Treaty sets out the principle of equal pay for male and female workers for equal work or work of equal value, but this principle is running into differences and the average gap remains 16.4%.
The difference in Hungary is greater than the European average. In 2008 the gap was 17.5% but after a small improvement in 2009 it began growing and in 2012 reached 20%. Since then it has grown even more. According to the latest statistics, the average salary of men in 2013 was HUF 220,000 a month while women made 21% less, HUF 173,400, almost HUF 50,000 difference.
The survey showed that the higher a woman gets on the ladder the less she earns in comparison with her male colleagues. The biggest difference is in senior management where the gap is 26%, while in mid-level management it is 18%. The smallest difference is among unskilled labourers; women only make 5% less here. The gap is biggest in telecommunications, and sales and marketing, where women are on 30% less.
The number of men and women working in a specific field can make quite a difference. A woman senior manager, where we usually find men, makes 29% less. Some other professions also disadvantage women: project managers (23%), chefs (22%), journalists (18%) and lawyers (17%).
Happily there are professions where the female workforce is at an advantage, although not many. This can be down to a belief that women are better at practising these professions, and that if a profession is dominated by one gender it is much harder to be successful if you are the opposite sex. These fields include assistant (2%), confectioner (3%) elementary school teacher (5%), nurse (10%) and many other more „feminine” jobs. The difference is biggest in human resources, where women who work as recruiters earn 31% more than men, but this is also very much a female-dominated profession.
Looking at the international situation, the gender pay gap in Hungary is the sixth highest in Europe after Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Germany, Austria and Estonia, where it is 30% in general. The smallest gap is in Slovenia, only 2.5%, by far the smallest in Europe and about a third of second-placed Malta, with 6.1%.
Several countries in Europe have made progress towards equalising the difference. Belgium was the first country to organise the Day of Equal Pay in 2005. The French parliament introduced strict rules for companies that operate with over 50 employees to enforce their duties to distribute equal wages. Austrian companies that employed over 250 people needed to create regular wage reports but from this year the number of workforce is being modified to 150. Portugal also requires companies to report on salaries. All these countries regulate the system of paying the workforce in the belief that inequality can only be solved by making the situation public.
Equality between genders is one of the most important notions of the European Union. The principle of equal salaries has been part of treaties since 1957. The main problem remains the lack of transparency, which stops women complaining when they don’t know the actual details of male salaries.