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Research consistently shows that gender and racial bias are common in the workplace. While the World Economic Forum’s 2018 Global Gender Gap Report showed that many of the 149 countries evaluated have achieved important milestones in gender parity across education, health, economic and political systems, there remains much work to be done.

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Today, the Global Gender Gap score stands at 68% with, on average, a 32% gap still left to close. Looking at current trends, the World Economic Forum estimates that it could take 202 years for men and women to reach economic parity, and 107 years to reach political parity.

The 2018 Global Gender Gap Report ranks Switzerland within the top 20 countries, globally, for gender pay parity. This is unsurprising, given that equal pay for men and women has been enshrined in Switzerland’s federal constitution and equality law since 1981. Nevertheless, in late 2018, the Swiss parliament decided to tighten the system by requiring companies employing 100 or more people to conduct a pay equity analysis as of 2020 and communicate the results.

To support this new development, the Swiss HR company Comp-On AG has developed a voluntary standard, Fair-ON-Pay, which enables companies to check their compliance with the federal statutory requirements on equal pay for men and women. Experts from Comp-On AG conduct a quantitative study of equal pay based on the Confederation’s standard analysis model, Logib. They then perform a calculation, using regression analysis, which takes into account objective factors predicting salary. These include human capital (personal characteristics such as level of training, potential years of employment and length of service) and factors related to the job itself, such as skill level and professional position.

As Comp-On AG’s exclusive certification partner, SGS verifies the resulting analysis report and a random sampling of the raw data. Once the standard criteria are met, SGS issues a Fair-ON-Pay certificate to demonstrate conformity with the requirements of the Federal Office for Gender Equality (FOGE). This certificate remains valid for four years, with a checkup in year three to ensure that the standard criteria have been maintained. As of December 2019, 20 companies have been awarded Fair-On-Pay certification and a further 10 are either undergoing the certification process or have already committed to achieving certification in 2020.

At a time when human skills are becoming increasingly important and provide a complement to emerging technologies and innovation, more companies are realizing that they cannot afford to deprive themselves of women’s talents. With initiatives such as Fair-ON-Pay, more companies will be able to show how they are embracing diversity in order to thrive in a challenging labor market.