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Is Your Employer Blind to Gender Inequity in the Workplace?

Topics: Current Events
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Even if you’re troubled by a gender inequity problem at your place of work, your employer probably doesn’t share your concern.

Based on data collected from roughly 100,000 U.S. employees and 2,525 human resources professionals, PayScale’s data analysts discovered a difference of perception between employees and employers regarding workplace gender inequity issues. Specifically, employers are more likely than their employees to report that there are no workplace gender inequity issues at their business. Or, if the presence of issues is acknowledged, employers are more likely than their employees to report that those issues are proactively being addressed.

Roughly 57 percent of employers said there is no gender inequity issue at their business that needs to be addressed, whereas only about 47 percent of employees felt the same way, a “perception gap”—or “corporate chasm”—of about 10 percent. Even when gender inequity issues were acknowledged, 16 percent of employers said that their organization was proactively addressing them, while only 14 percent of employees agreed, a gap of 2 percent.

The Gender Opportunity Gap

Gender inequity often presents itself in the form of a pay gap and/or opportunity gap; the gender pay gap can be traced back almost entirely to the gender opportunity gap, meaning the fact that women are promoted into high-paying positions at significantly lower rates than men.

In our December 2016 report, our data showed that at the start of their careers, men and women tend to work at similar job levels, but:

Men are 85 percent more likely than women to be VPs or C-Suite Execs by mid-career, and 171 percent more likely to hold those positions late in their career. Workers in higher-level roles almost always earn a higher salary, so the lack of women in these roles means the average woman is almost certainly destined to make less than the average man.

And the uncontrolled gender pay gap—the pay gap that takes the opportunity gap into account, as opposed to simply comparing men and women doing the same jobs—shows that the median salary for men is roughly 24 percent higher than the median salary for women.

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Why Does This Matter in Business?

Yes, this is unfair. But most companies make decisions based on what’s good for the bottom line, not on what’s fair. That said, impact on the bottom line is actually why employers should be concerned about gender inequity issues: based on further PayScale research, it turns out that if employees don’t believe their employer is working to address gender inequity, the same employees are significantly more likely to seek a new job. In fact, our research has shown that if employees believe their employer is taking no action to address gender inequity, 71 percent of women and 74 percent of men plan to find a new job within six months.

From the same report:

According to a 2012 Center for American Progress report, every time a business replaces a salaried employee, it can cost the company twice that employee’s annual salary due to the expenses involved with hiring and on-boarding a replacement. Additionally, as has been well documented, increased turnover erodes company morale.

Turns out, beyond being the morally right thing to do, solving gender inequity issues is good for business.

What Can You Do to Help?

If you’re an employee worried about gender inequity at your place of work, take a look at our report, Inside the Gender Pay Gap, which includes a number of ways to work toward a solution.

If you’re a manager or leader and you’re concerned there’s a gender inequity issue at your company, read our new whitepaper, Pay Equity Action Plan: Why Fair and Equal Aren’t the Same Thing, which dives into questions like, “What is fair pay?” “How does it differ from equal pay?” and “How does one go about paying fairly?”

And, again, if you’re an employer, even if you don’t believe you have a gender inequity problem, your employees might have insight into something you don’t.

Tell Us What You Think

Do you believe there’s a gender inequity issue at your place of work? Is action being taken to correct it? We want to hear from you. Tell us your thoughts in the comments or join the conversation on Twitter.

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