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Ways to Bridge the Gender Pay Gap

by Yash Ranjan
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It’s common sense that if word gets around that you’ve made equal pay for comparable work a priority, you’ll do better as a company. While the opposite is also true, it’s no secret that if you pay people fairly, they’re more apt to stay with you and even perform better. 

After all, women in this country are compensated, on average, 20% less than men, and black and Latina women fare even worse. It’s understood that you cannot solve the whole national pay equity issue on your own. However, there are steps your organization can take to do its part, while helping with recruitment and retention.

Read on for ways to bridge the gender pay gap.

The Issue

Do you think your organization is making headway on the pay equity front? Maybe you are, but you’d be in the minority, perception-wise, because the fact is that just 16% of U.S. residents believe businesses are doing enough to at least narrow the gender pay gap. What’s more, 66% of Americans are less likely to purchase from an enterprise that doesn’t compensate women fairly. So, there’s that, too.

What Can My Company Do to Help Close the Gender Pay Gap?

Do a pay analysis.

Just 26% of U.S. organizations look for wage disparities between women of color and other groups thar have comparable positions. So, you have an opportunity to get a leg up on the competition here. And anyway, you cannot remedy a problem you don’t know about, right? A pay analysis, also called a pay audit, allows you to analyze pay by gender and ethnicity so that you can spot and solve pay gaps. Just remember to be transparent about how you set pay so that employees know what they need to do to possibly advance.

Hire and promote equitably.

You must do all you can to be certain that your organization doesn’t have a systemic problem when it comes hiring and promotion. By that we mean, make sure you’re not, at least subconsciously, favoring men and perpetuating the pay gap. This may require that you train your managers so that they “get” the affect of gender bias on their decisions, and that you establish clear criteria for hiring and promoting. Here’s a fun fact: just 21% of U.S. organizations have gender targets for employee advancement.

Give women ample chance for advancement.

It generally takes longer for women to receive promotions and raises, even though they seek them just as frequently as men. To compound matters, women generally get less performance feedback and fewer top assignments; they’re also mentored less. Give the women in your organization equitable access to all the above.

Give women their say.

That’s right: allow women to negotiate their pay packages just as you do men. You’d think we wouldn’t have to say that, but the fact is that women who negotiate are more likely than men to be perceived as “bossy” or too aggressive. All this can have a deleterious impact on women’s careers and pay histories. Don’t discourage women from advocating for themselves.

Now that you know some solid ways to bridge the gender pay gap, you can put them in place and watch your organization’s bottom line improve. The fact is that satisfied employees stick and stay, are more productive, and lead to happy customers. 

Oh, and your organization’s reputation will take on new shine, because word does get around. If you need help putting any of the above steps in place, you can always enlist the help of the HR consultant Mercer, which has been found to have the most experience and expertise.

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