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Friday’s papers: Gender pay gap, progressive taxation, and city bikes take a break

Top income brackets remain elusive for women, progressive taxation's role on competitiveness, and city bikes brake for winter.

File photo of Helsinki's city bikes. Image: Ronnie Holmberg / Yle

Few women break into top earnings

Following up on Thursday's trove of taxpayer data, regional paper Turun Sanomat asks why just 13 women made it into the top 100 earners’ list in Finland. Timo Rothovius, an accounting and finance professor at the University of Vaasa, told the paper that men still occupy most managerial roles at large firms, and that many of Finland's wealthiest men are self-made business owners.

While women also go into business for themselves, they often don’t hit the salary jackpot in their chosen fields, such as hairdressing, a common form of female self-employment . Men are more likely to take significant risks, founding companies focused on gaming or technology that carry big potential pay-offs, according to Rothovius.

”Women may be looking for stability, while men are more inclined to take risks,” the professor said.

Men will mortgage their home to start a company, but this mentality also shows up in statistics indicating that male entrepreneurs are more likely to go bust than their female counterparts.

Taxation and growth

Finnish taxes are a deterrent to productivity, says National Coalition MP Kalle Jokinen in business daily Kauppalehti. He argues that the marginal tax rate for someone earning 24,000 euros a year is 39 percent, meaning that workers take home 61 euros for every additional 100 euros earned after this point.

”For low-income earners this creates a deterrent to accept work. For the middle class, the rapid rise in progressive taxation is punitive, diminishing purchasing power and hindering people from taking on more demanding roles,” he said.

Jokinen points out that a recent member survey of the professional workers' union Akava found that half of respondents were not interested in moving up the career ladder because they said they believed that any raise would effectively be wiped out by higher taxes.

”Finland taxes its main competitive advantage–its brainpower—very highly. When extra earnings are taxed at 50 percent, top professionals would rather take time off work to paint the summer cottage than hire a young or unemployed person,” he explained.

Bikes brake for winter

With winter just around the corner, Hufvudstadsbladet reports that the capital region’s yellow city bikes are being picked up for winter storage. The brightly-coloured bike stations and bicycles will reappear on April 1 next year.

Due to their growing popularity, the city will open new bike stations in northern and eastern Helsinki, according to Helsinki City Transport (HKL).

Samuli Mäkinen of HKL said cyclists made around three million trips on the shared bikes, amounting to nine daily rides per bicycle. Some 50,000 people purchased season passes this year, up from 10,000 in 2016 when the project first piloted.

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