The salary of an employee over 55 is 76% higher than that of a colleague only 25, according to service provider Acerta HR’s study on gross wages. For every 100 euros earned by the 25-year-old, his older colleague receives 176.38 euros.
These wage differences related to age differ, depending on the sector in which the worker is employed. In the non-profit area, the difference will only be 48%, mainly because of a fairly uniform organization of development possibilities.
Within the commercial sector, chemistry and metal fields show a difference that is higher than the average 76%, but lower than within the banking and insurance sectors, where an older employee can earn up to twice as much as a beginner. Market sectors in which the pay gap is lower than the average are the National Auxiliary Joint Committee for Employees (CP 200), and retailing, the latter showing a difference of barely 15%.
Overall, Acerta puts forward several explanations for this wage gap: a 55-year-old worker has evolved in his function during the previous 30 years, and his responsibilities have increased in line with his experience, not to mention the wage increase due to seniority.
According to a previous survey by HR specialists, employers nevertheless believe that the “value” of a worker increases in the early years, but that this increase does not follow a linear path, and is not as continuous as the remuneration system linked to seniority suggests. “Automatic remuneration linked to seniority is not consistent with the current trend to customized tailoring,” Acerta’s lawyer Olivier Marcq explains. This wage increase on account of seniority “quickly becomes a burden for employers, who must give a raise to a worker whose function has not changed, as well as for workers, who may have registered greater progress, but must still settle for an “ordinary” seniority step.
Acerta also notes that an over-55 worker’s high salary is no longer necessarily an obstacle on the labour market, particularly because of staff shortage in certain areas. “With the talent war raging, new opportunities are emerging for older employees, who can play the knowledge and experience card, and have it literally paid for,” Mr. Marcq says.