Equal Pay analysis bij AkzoNobel

AkzoNobel is een multinational uit Nederland die gespecialiseerd is in verf en coatings. Het is een van de grootste en meest vooraanstaande wereldwijde bedrijven op het gebied van coatings en verf. Met meer dan 35.000 werknemers wereldwijd wilden ze een wereldwijde analyse van gelijke beloning uitvoeren. Na zorgvuldige overweging kozen ze Highberg als hun partner. Vandaag interviewen we Magdalena Guaia, Global Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Advisor, over haar ervaringen met het uitvoeren van onderzoek naar gelijke beloning en Highberg.

Irma Doze

Magdalena, can you explain why AkzoNobel is conducting an analysis of pay equity?

"At AkzoNobel, we are committed to diversity, equality, and inclusion. We recognize that data is essential to understand where our focus should be and where improvements are needed. Data from the World Economic Forum shows that it will still take 132 years to achieve global gender equality overall, compared to a predicted 136 years in 2021. We find it necessary to address this, while also acknowledging that we are exposed to the same systems, social norms, and stereotypes that contribute to such inequalities. With this awareness, we decided to take a closer look at our pay practices at AkzoNobel through the lens of equality and roll up our sleeves to understand where we stand and where we need to intervene."

It is therefore not surprising that organisations are increasingly focusing on retaining their talents. This implies a growing focus on building impactful relationships with employees who, in turn, will stay on in the longer term. Attracting and retaining talent even when working remotely is another challenge added by COVID.

But how do you keep people in? How do you prevent them from leaving? More and more organisations are using exit interviews and/or exit surveys to learn from departing colleagues and thus retain the remaining ones.

However, an exit survey is, by definition, held among colleagues who have already decided to leave. That means that, while you do indeed learn why this group is leaving, it says nothing about why (other) employees stay on. Moreover, departing employees will tend to rationalise their decision (afterwards) to avoid any stress and discomfort caused by doubt, i.e. display cognitive dissonance. As such, it remains questionable whether you will actually uncover their true motives for leaving.

Influencing and predicting

It is a much better idea to measure the aspects that may influence departure broadly among all employees and then carry out an analysis three to twelve months later, identifying the factors that all the remaining employees share and that distinguish them from the departing employees. In this way, you will know which buttons to push in order to influence staff turnover.

It is also useful to look for key figures that can help to predict future outflow. After all, the current attrition rate only represents the past, and there is nothing you can do today to change it. Rather, you should focus on indicators that predict future attrition. These can be used to establish whether the organisation will achieve the goals it has set itself if it continues on its present course or whether adjustments are needed.

Irma Doze

Based on AkzoNobel's needs, Highberg conducted a comprehensive analysis of pay equity. The main question of this study is: 'Do men and women receive equal pay for equal work.'

Our first objective is to understand AkzoNobel's HR data structure, how HR data is collected and in which systems, across all countries. Additionally, we need to understand the compensation and organizational structure. Based on this information, choices are made to include as much information as possible.

When understanding the HR data structure, it is important to align within AkzoNobel on equal pay and equal work. As a global organization, compensation may vary between countries, with different currencies and xxxx. In the analysis, Highberg ensures that these differences are corrected.

After AkzoNobel shares the relevant data, Highberg can conduct various analyses to answer the main research question. We use a weighting model, which differs from a regression model. A weighting model provides the ability to explain the individual effects of different variables that may explain a difference in pay, such as job level, country, or business unit.

Based on these analyses, we were able to show AkzoNobel their pay gap, both before and after correcting for various variables.

Magdalena, can you share with us what the results have told you? What were the most striking insights?

"Our results are encouraging, and we are pleased that the pay gap (after correction) within AkzoNobel is relatively small: 0.9% in favor of men. In simple terms, this means that for every €100 earned by a male employee at AkzoNobel, a female employee earns €99.1. This performs significantly better than the European average of 11% in favor of men, as well as competitors in the industry and other Dutch publicly listed industrial companies."

The end of the exit interview?

Based on the results, AkzoNobel has also implemented several follow-up steps. Magdalena, can you share with us what you are currently working on?

"After receiving the findings, our Rewards team began working on the few identified areas for improvement with the aim of taking clear actions to prevent the gap from widening. We will continue to monitor our gender pay gap to ensure we stay on track, going beyond what the European Union requires, and focusing on the figures adjusted after variable adjustments, aiming for equal pay for equal work."

Providing insight into general trends

Based on the results of the equal pay analysis, AnalitiQs also presented the Equal Pay Certificate to AkzoNobel. Magdalena, what is the significance of the Equal Pay Certificate?

"The certificate confirms that we are on the right path. It's a relief to know that we're not contributing to the unfair realities that perpetuate the gender pay gap."

Exit survey: source for recruiters

Based on the results of the equal pay analysis, AnalitiQs also awarded the Equal Pay Certificate to AkzoNobel. Magdalena, what is the importance of the Equal Pay Certificate?

"The certificate confirms that we are on the right track. It is a relief to know that we are not contributing to the unfair realities that fuel the gender pay gap."

Staff surveys by AnalitiQs

The exit survey is one of the many surveys that Highberg carries out for its clients. Besides the staff surveys, Highberg performs People Analyses, sets up HR Dashboards and helps organisations to transition to data-driven HR.


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