"An awareness in the company": this is how the Minister of Labor, Muriel Pénicaud, spoke last fall of the first assessment of the implementation of the index of equal pay in companies launched in March 2019. “With this index, some business leaders have discovered the law! the minister also explained to us in December. There have been increases, but also more respect for the law. "
In total, according to the government, nearly 7,000 companies have set up this index, and among them, one in three did not comply with the legal obligation to increase women on their return from maternity leave. Introduced in the law “for the Freedom to choose one's professional future” of September 5, 2018, this index allows - through a score ranging from 1 to 5 - to compare within each company the situation of employees with equal position and age, by gender. It is not luxury.
Since 1972, laws have followed one another in France in an attempt to close the pay gap, but for equal positions and experience, women's wages remain around 9% lower than those of men. And if the unions were very critical when launching this tool last year, believing like Sophie Binet of the CGT, that he was too lenient towards large groups, most welcome, however, "a tool that allows concrete progress on the subject", as Béatrice Lestic, in charge of the subject on the CFDT point out.
For now, the index applies to groups of more than 1,000 people and to companies with 250 to 1,000 employees. From next March, it will be up to SMEs, and therefore companies with 50 to 250 employees, to make it public, under penalty of fines equivalent to 1% of their payroll.
The rise of negotiation workshops for women
What if the wage gaps that persist between men and women in the business world also stem from the attitude of the women themselves who did not dare to ask for increases? Based on this observation, various training programs are emerging all over France to offer women support in their salary negotiations.
In Cherbourg (Manche), it is the Maison de l'Emploi et de la Formation (MEF) which offers this type of workshop, also created in business schools like Audencia Business School in 2017 in Nantes (Loire-Atlantique) or at the University of Angers (Maine-et-Loire). They have also been provided since last summer in Paris by structures such as the Gloria company, which brings together female employees every month around subjects such as “boosting your career” or “managing your return from maternity leave well”.
“It pays me” newsletterThe newsletter that improves your purchasing power
Your email address is collected by Le Parisien to allow you to receive our news and commercial offers. Find out more
“We started from the observation that today there were a large number of networks to support women in entrepreneurship or self-employment, but almost none to support female employees. However, many are those who flourish in their work, but feel that they deserve to be increased or need advice and support, "says Laura Lasry, who founded Gloria in 2019.
For a budget of 29 to 39 euros for the two and a half hour session, women can attend these workshops, offered in the evening and led by human resources directors. In Nantes, the Audencia School of Management offers free workshops, in the form of a “citizens' initiative”, to students, but also to all residents of the city. "At the beginning, we had a huge number of women on the waiting list and we were forced to limit registrations," said a spokesperson.
The school was inspired by the city of Boston in the United States, where, in 2016, 85,000 women benefited from free lessons given by the municipality. The concept should spread throughout France this year. On March 25, on the occasion of equal pay for women and men, nine cities in France are expected to offer these workshops.
"You have to prepare well and leave your emotions aside"
Clémentine, digital project manager in a Parisian start-up
Clementine (the first name has been changed) , 35, is an employee in a start-up. “This time, I managed to get an increase of 500 euros monthly on my executive salary! Welcomes the young woman. Digital project manager in a Parisian start-up, the young woman has been asking for an increase for years. In vain. "I only got a little boost, of the order of 50 euros per month, far below my expectations," she explains.
In the company where the young woman has worked for years, the salary is "taboo" for all employees, she says, and it is also "a subject" for women. “We know we are underpaid compared to our male colleagues. For the same job, at the same level, we sometimes earn a quarter of a salary less, ”she deplores. Hence the salary negotiation coaching workshop that Clémentine attended thanks to Gloria. The next day, the young woman returned to the front with her superior.
What does she think is the key to success? "You have to have a method!" »Advises Clémentine. "I tended to talk a lot about others, not enough about myself and take these interviews too much to heart", recognizes the employee. This time, Clementine calmly shed light on her recent and past achievements. "I explained how the features that I had developed on our application had proven effective for users and had contributed to the good economic performance of the company," she said. In addition, she reminded her manager how she had a deep knowledge of the market and its product which she could "transmit to employees who arrive at the company".
Much more confident now, Clementine insists: “Above all, you must not let yourself be caught up in emotions and prepare well. This moment should not be experienced as anxiety-provoking. In any case, "you shouldn't make a drama of it if it doesn't work, but above all don't be discouraged and dare to go for it." "
THE EYE OF THE EXPERT. "They don't dare ask for things for themselves"
Guillaume Da Mota, director of human resources at L'Oréal, conducts coaching workshops in Paris to teach women to negotiate an increase. "Don't compare yourself! »« In a good negotiation, there is no emotion! »: Such is the advice he has given for six months in these meetings in Paris organized by Gloria.
“I try to make them aware of their value and what they bring to the business. Unlike men, too many of them do not dare to defend their own interests and ask for things for themselves. It takes root from childhood, little girls are often taught not to be capricious. This tends to condition them for later. Most are less ready to fight during an interview to get a raise, while men are tougher in business and operate different levers of negotiations. "
At each workshop, between 15 and 35 participants move to listen to the advice of Guillaume Da Mota, who begins by helping them to make a diagnosis of their professional situation. His observation? "Women of all ages and all profiles are concerned and there is still work to be done in the business world to achieve equality!" In the end, the employees who attend its workshops come out better equipped for their future interviews. "Some send me emails to thank me or take pictures in front of the company car which they obtained in part thanks to my advice," he rejoices.