As reported by the White House, full-time working women receive 77 percent of their male counterparts’ salaries. April 20 was “equal pay payday,” representing how far a woman needed to work into 2015 to earn as much as a man did in 2014. And as cited by 77 percent of females and 63 percent of males who responded to a recent Pew Research Center survey, this income inequality needs to change.
How can you be smart in addressing this highly sensitive issue at your company? Let the change start with you by taking a few simple, sensible steps.
Suggestions for Resolving the Issue
Whether due to discrimination or choice, the wage gap issue is real. Here are some suggestions:
- No-negotiation salaries: Make your salary offers one and done, take it or leave it. Employees may be allowed to switch some elements for equity, but the overall total remains intact. This works because generally, women are less likely than men to be comfortable negotiating. You can erase this gender imbalance by eliminating this dilemma. Because future salaries are usually based on a percentage of current earnings, even a small difference at the point of hire grows significantly down the line.
- Better maternity leave benefits: The U.S. lags behind other countries in granting maternity leave time. As a result, many women opt to exit the workforce entirely instead of coming back too soon. Progressive employers are taking innovative steps, such as allowing new moms to work 30 hours a week but still receive full-time pay for several months after they return from maternity leave. This helps because if you have to quit a job and come back later, you may do so at a lower rate than those who have worked straight through.
- Publication of salaries: Traditionally, salary details have been kept under corporate lock and key. If this information was shared with everyone in a department, people could know if they were being fairly compensated. Putting all this information on the table paves the way for fairness and equality.
- True workplace flexibility: Women’s careers are sometimes stalled because they need better work/family balance. Consequently, men are given higher-paying positions that require more hands-on time. With better systems and more cross training, all employees can have true flexibility. Offer job sharing, telecommuting and summer hours, as well as flex time and more effective use of technology. As noted by Harvard economist Claudia Goldin, many wage gaps occur in professions where flexibility is not easily granted. For example, all patient information in pharmacies is stored on computers, and any pharmacist can assist customers. As a result, the wage gap is smaller.
- Effective use of data: Take advantage of real-time data analytics to assess the performance of employees relative to their peers and to base compensation. This eliminates any human guesswork that may be involved. As a result, pay accurately reflects performance, as well as time in a position, and not gender.
Are you keeping up with all the key tasks on your HR to-do list – including wage equity? It can become overwhelming as you try to focus on what you do best: running your business. The recruitment and workforce development team at PrideStaff Modesto can help. Read our related posts or contact us today to learn more.