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Labour Market Research: For women 1 euro = 96 cents

“Equal pay has made great strides, but there’s still work to do,” says UJF advocacy head Petri Savolainen of the latest pay survey of union members.

A new labour market survey of UJF members in employment shows that women union members are reaching the pay levels of their male counterparts.

But during April 2018, the month covered by the survey, women continued to earn less than men. Men’s average total earnings were €3 898, while women’s were € 3 734.

There are no explanatory factors for why the pay gap benefits men. Women are paid less regardless of age, job placement, or education, But with one exception. Women under the age of 30 earn more than men of the same age. The pay gap in favour of men is largest in the 50 and older age groups.

“Equal pay has made great strides, but there’s still work to do,” notes UJF advocacy head Petri Savolainen.

Income increasing

There’s some other good news too. After the last couple of years of stagnation, the income level of journalists in employment has started to rise slightly. On average, earnings have grown by over 2,5 per cent. Growth has been most prominent in the press, where earnings have increased by over 5 per cent.

“However, when we consider the rise in earnings we need to take into account the Competitiveness Pact, which extended working hours and froze wages. As a result, pay decreased by 1,5 per cent, “says Savolainen.

In terms of total income, press employment surpassed that for the Finnish Broadcasting Company, Yle. The previous labour market survey showed that Yle was ahead of the press in earnings. But the new survey gives average total earnings for those working for the press as €3 774, and €3 695 for those at Yle. The highest income earned by those working for magazines is € 5 344.

The industry’s top payer has also changed. Previously, the biggest gross earnings were to be had at MTV, the commercial broadcaster, followed by Mediahub in Helsinki. Their average pay has dropped from just under €4 200 to about €3 900.

“This reflects the turbulence of the last couple of years at MTV News and concerning its working conditions, with the transition from MTV’s collective agreement to the Media Hub collective agreement”, explains Petri Savolainen.

“Basic monthly pay has risen, but total earnings have declined, as the supplements had to be reduced compared to under the old agreement.”

Where collective agreements don’t reach

According to the survey, the lowest pay comes under the “other private radio and TV” bracket, and amounts to some €2 500. This refers to TV production companies that do not yet have a comprehensive collective agreement. Savolainen says that a collective agreement ensuring minimum pay only covers some companies in the sector.

“”We are currently awaiting a solution on the general applicability of the sector’s collective agreement. If implemented, it would apply to minimum pay for all companies in this sector. There is no collective agreement at all for commercial radio covering minimum pay. ”

The survey also measures the effect of respondents’ level of education on earnings. Those with the best income have as yet unfinished university studies, and earn about €4 160. Journalism graduates earned just over €4 000.

Savolainen advises UJF members to take note of the survey results when changing jobs. “Or if you’re wondering how your pay compares to that of your colleagues. The pay level in the survey is highly comparable to employers’ statistics, such as those done by the Confederation of Finnish Industries.”

The survey had 1 377 respondents. It was conducted by Sakari Nurmela of Kanatar TNS Ltd. The UJF surveys freelancers’ pay on odd-numbered years, meaning next in spring 2019.