January 12, 2018

The Roundup: Equal pay in Iceland and companies double down on diversity

This week, we introduce The Roundup: simply, the goods on recent stories that are influencing the conversation about the future of work.

Iceland now requires companies to prove women are paid equally

Iceland is now the first country in the world to require companies to prove that they are not paying women less than men under an amendment to the Act on Equal Status and Equal Rights of Women and Men that came into effect on Jan. 1, 2018.


Under the Equal Pay Standard established under the Act, companies with 25 full-time employees or more must analyze their salary structures every three years to ensure that men and women are being paid the same amounts for doing the same jobs. They must then report back to the government for certification, or face penalties.

According to the New York Times, “Iceland has had equal pay laws for half a century, pushing companies and the government to gradually reduce the pay gap. But the thinking behind the new legislation is that unless the laws are applied more forcefully, the imbalance may never close.”

Iceland, along with Spain and France, also enforces a quota that requires companies with more than 50 employees to have a minimum of 40% of women on their boards. Norway led the charge in leveling the playing field in this capacity in 2003.

Not everyone agrees that Iceland is moving in the right direction on equal rights for women. Some argue that the Equal Pay Standard isn’t enough to truly close the wage gap, and say that lasting societal and gender stereotypes are the true cause/source of enduring inequality.

What’s the takeaway? We need to begin to change the conversation around inequality to challenge stereotypes and assumptions about gender in a broader context.

Related: What does it mean to be EDGE-Certified, and why is Ceridian doing it?

Organizations are doubling down on a diversity mindset in 2018

LinkedIn released its 2018 Global Recruiting Trends report this week, which highlights ideas impacting recruiting and hiring. Diversity is named as one trend shaping company practices – in particular, the report notes that the definition of diversity is changing.

According to the report, “diversity…today has expanded to diversity, inclusion and belonging.” Leading organizations regularly examine their culture, invest in technology and training to evolve their recruiting processes, and have networks of employees in place committed to diversity and inclusion initiatives.

In our recent 2018 HCM trends post, Ceridian’s SVP Corporate Strategy and Development Justine Kilby highlighted that employers will be (or at least should be thinking about) increasingly leveraging the value of AI to drive fairness and eliminate biases. This is relevant not only in the recruiting process, but throughout the employee lifecycle.

New York wants to hold technology accountable for bias

Speaking of bias…

In December 2017, New York City passed a bill designed to provide transparency to the way that city government agencies use algorithms. This bill is the first of its kind in the U.S. The bill is intended to address how city agencies use algorithms to make decisions, and whether any of the systems appear to show bias.

The bill, and the task force established to report on the systems, provide a possible outlook on the future of humans and machines working together: transparency, trust, and positive impact.

Danielle Ng-See-Quan

Dani is the Senior Manager, Content Marketing at Ceridian.

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