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by Laleh Hassibi, PayScale.com
topic of Mitt Romney’s “binder full of women” is all over the social media
channels today and the subject of memes, blogs and various other forms of
snidery. HR professionals know all about binders, having relied on binders
full of salary data to make decisions about pay for a long time. It’s
definitely time to rethink the outdated binder-method of HR, but that’s a whole
different blog article. Right now, I want to take a swing at gender pay
inequity, which is the heart of the Mitt Romney binder debacle. Men making more
money than women is not a new discussion by far, but one that can easily be
made a non-issue in any company with some good solid compensation planning.
Yep. Men Make More Money
has salary data – lots of it. We use it to help people negotiate their own
personal salaries as well as to help businesses know what to pay their
employees. We also do research on trends and report on our findings in various
ways. Recently, we took a deep dive into the issue of gender-based pay
inequity and the conclusions were not so surprising. Yes, men do earn more than women on average, but not that
much more when they work the same job and they have similar experience and
abilities. When you look at men and women working the same job with similar
qualifications, that inequity drops below the approximate 80 cent on the dollar
discrepancy that is typically reported.
Mind the Gap
So how can your company avoid the pitfalls of
gender inequality, which includes everything from unhappy employees to
potential legal problems? PayScale can definitely help with this:
- Make market-based salary decisions: Using good
market data can help you make decisions about pay based upon a combination of
compensable factors that are important to your positions such as degrees,
certifications, years of experience and geography (but not gender!). This
approach will level the playing field among men and women and will also ensure
that the salaries you are paying are right for the job. That will keep everyone
happy and encourage them to stay.
- Have clearly defined compensation structures:
Once you know what the market pays for a given job, set pay
grades and do what you can to make sure that everyone (men and women) fits
into the appropriate range for their position. Attend WorldatWork’s free webinar next week,
sponsored by PayScale, to learn more about creating a pay structure that
excludes pay inequities.
- Develop and communicate a
compensation philosophy: Get your philosophy down in writing and make sure
that every employee understands it. Employees stay more satisfied when they
know what to expect from you.
A good compensation plan helps to prevent and
fix pay inequities of any kind. It will not only help you keep your employees
happy, but a well-implemented, well-communicated, legally-defensible pay
grade structure can help you justify your salary decisions. Even
when there is a discrepancy, if you can clearly explain the science behind your
pay decisions, you’ll be in a much better position.
PayScale makes it easy for you to get
compensation right. Download our free eBook, Bring Back the Sizzle, for a
step-by-step guide to developing a compensation plan that gets workers fired up
(in a good way).