Hidden cost of inequality in the workplace

The introduction of performance-related pay is in danger of widening discrimination between men and women at the workplace, according to the Office for Equal Opportunities.

This content was published on January 25, 2000 - 15:53

The introduction of performance-related pay is in danger of widening discrimination between men and women at the workplace, according to the Office for Equal Opportunities. In an effort to prevent this happening, the office has published a manual for bosses conducting assessment interviews.

The manual is based on research conducted by Professor Christof Baisch, which shows that men and women are not treated alike during the assessments. The interviews determine whether an employee gets a pay rise or promotion. The research found that if men are friendly in the talks this rates positively, with women it is taken as greed. If women have a suggestion for improvement, it is regarded as criticism of the existing system, while men are praised for being innovative.

The survey shows that personnel officers are frequently subjective in evaluating their perceptions. It says that, in general, women employees are too modest about their own performance and achievements, while men usually ascribe their personal performance to innate abilities.

As a result of the survey, the Office for Equal Opportunities is making a brochure available to personnel departments to raise awareness of the pitfalls of gender-specific questioning and evaluation. The brochure also gives advice to women facing a performance-evaluation or pay-rise meeting with their boss.

Since 1996, Swiss law guarantees equal pay for men and women doing the same jobs, but the reality is still different. Women earn up to a quarter less than their male counterparts. In such cases, most women and trade unions are reluctant to sue, fearing further discrimination over other issues at a later date.

By Peter Haller

This article was automatically imported from our old content management system. If you see any display errors, please let us know: community-feedback@swissinfo.ch

Share this story