Some may find it hard to believe that in this day and age, women are still being paid less than men. But unfortunately, the numbers don’t lie. On average, women in the United States are paid 20 percent less than their male counterparts. This leads to the typical American woman being unjustly denied roughly $400,000 over the course of her career.
While an increase in the number of prominent female CEOs may lead some to think this may be a shrinking issue, the Institute for Women’s Policy Research has actually found that the gap is wider in higher-paying industries and roles.
If you want to be a fair and progressive employer, there are a few steps you can take to help minimize this disparity and close the gap.
Perform a pay audit
The first step is figuring out whether you have a problem, and if so, to what extent. The only way to do so is to conduct a pay audit. Analyze the data with an eye towards both gender and race. For example, the pay gap is even worse for African-American and Hispanic women, who are paid 38 and 47 percent less than their male counterparts, respectively.
According to a 2018 Women in the Workplace study, only one in four companies track differences in salary between women of color and other groups in similar positions of employment. Help increase that number by looking out for all types of discrepancies in compensation.
Adhere to fair hiring and promoting practices
Promotions and raises should be regularly audited, as well, to ensure that your company is not systematically rewarding men more than women. Additionally, hiring managers and supervisors should be trained to recognize their own conscious and unconscious gender biases, so that they can become aware of the way in which such attitudes influence their decisions. To further ensure that such prejudices are not acted upon, your company should also codify certain practices regarding promotions and hiring targets.
Provide women with equal opportunities for advancement
According to the Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg’s nonprofit organization LeanIn.org, women request promotions and raises just as frequently as men, yet on average are still promoted more slowly and paid a smaller salary. It is also common for women to receive less feedback and be assigned more inessential tasks, such as event planning and other forms of “office housework.”
Break the cycle by providing the women in your company with equal access to the mentors and opportunities that spur advancement, and make it a norm for them to negotiate.
In summary, there are three essential steps companies should take to help eliminate the gender pay gap:
- Conduct a pay audit and analyze what the data says about gender and race.
- Train managers and create a fair system for how you hire, promote and raise salaries.
- Ensure women have equal access to the tools and negotiations needed to advance.