Foreword

The OECD has long promoted gender equality in labour markets, society and at home. Recent reports in the OECD’s Gender Equality at Work series illustrate that countries have, in recent years, implemented many policies that have helped to close gender gaps in the labour market. Yet women continue to lag behind men in most economic outcomes: women are less likely to be in the labour force than men, women earn less on average, women are less likely to advance to leadership positions, and – reflecting accumulating inequalities over the life course – women face a higher risk of old-age poverty.

One persistent inequality motivates this report: the gender wage gap. Across OECD countries, on average, the unadjusted gender pay gap stands at 11.9% – meaning that the median full-time working woman earns about 88 cents to every dollar or euro earned by the median full-time working man. This rate has barely moved in recent decades.

The OECD is committed to helping countries understand and implement an increasingly common tool targeting the wage gap: pay transparency. In November 2021 the OECD published its first OECD-wide stocktaking of pay transparency measures for equal pay, entitled Pay Transparency Tools to Close the Gender Wage Gap, with the support of the Swedish Ministry of Employment. The 2021 report overviewed OECD countries’ private sector pay gap reporting requirements, equal pay audits, gender-neutral job classification systems, and requirements to include equal pay considerations in collective bargaining.

Pay transparency is a rapidly advancing policy space. The OECD soon thereafter followed up with the current report, Reporting Gender Wage Gaps in OECD Countries: Guidance for Pay Transparency Implementation, Monitoring and Reform, with the support of the German Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth (Bundesministerium für Famlie, Senioren, Frauen und Jugend).

This report focuses on gender pay gap reporting and equal pay auditing requirements for private sector firms. Just over half (55%) of OECD countries now require private companies to report their workforce’s gender pay gap to stakeholders like employees, employees’ representatives, the government or the public. This report offers a cross-national stocktaking of policy approaches, identifies good practices and areas for improvement, and proposes a checklist of relevant policy considerations for countries interested in implementing or reforming their pay transparency regimes.

This report is intended to serve as a practical tool for all countries, including those attempting to comply with the new European Union Pay Transparency Directive. Reporting Gender Wage Gaps in OECD Countries: Guidance for Implementation, Monitoring and Reform has helped inform the OECD’s monitoring of the 2013 OECD Recommendation on Gender Equality in Education, Employment and Entrepreneurship and will add to the growing body of work supporting the Equal Pay International Coalition (EPIC), a multi-stakeholder coalition led by the OECD, the International Labour Organization, and UN Women.

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