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Develop Your Pay Equity Action Plan

Happy Equal Pay Day? Typically not. Equal Pay Day is the day in the year when women’s wages catch up to men’s wages from the prior year. When looking at the median wage for all women when compared with the median wage for all men, it takes more than three months for women to catch up. But this year’s Equal Pay Day was made “happier” by PayScale’s Don’t Call It a Pay Gap event, which gathered professionals from Seattle in our PayScale headquarters, and was broadcast live on Facebook.

A lot of attention has come to equal pay recently, whether the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team or the U.S. Women’s Hockey Team, in Hollywood or in companies, pay equity issues can arise even in companies who are committed to fair pay. At PayScale, we have worked with companies who struggle to pay right. It’s not that they are trying to introduce bias into their promotion or pay practices, but they often don’t know where to start.

For today’s event, we brought in three business leaders to talk about not just the pay gap but the opportunity gap between women and men in the workplace. Moderated by Lydia Frank (VP of Content at PayScale), the event featured panelists Elizabeth Weingarten (Director Global Gender Parity Initiative at New America), Christy Johnson (CEO of Artemis Connection), and Peter Hamilton (CEO of Tune).

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PayScale’s own CEO, Mike Metzger, kicked it off saying, “equal pay for equal work isn’t the full story. Access to equal opportunity is necessary.” A recent PayScale study shed some data on the issue, illuminating the pay gap and identifying the opportunity gap. Finding the opportunity gap in your organization is one thing you can do to ensure fairness in your organization.

Suggestions from the panelists included:

  • Watch out for the perception gap. If you think there aren’t problems with pay equity in your workplace, check again. – Elizabeth Weingarten PayScale recently reported data showing that employers and employees don’t agree on whether there is a problem with gender equity issues in the organization. Or if they do agree that there is, they disagree about how well companies are addressing the issues.
  • Support middle managers & train them, they may not have bias on purpose. – Christy Johnson Managing people is a learned set of skills. Train managers to recognize bias in promotion or pay practices.
  • Effective executive teams discuss the undiscussables – Lydia Frank. Talking about pay equity and pay fairness can be tough. That said, the tough conversations are what launch organizations forward to success.

Christy Johnson provided a roadmap for organizations to address pay equity issues. She started by urging companies to get real data. You can’t fix a problem that you can’t see. Next, reflect your customer diversity. Be transparent about your organization’s diversity efforts. Approach the gender gap like you would develop a new product – experiment and try things out. Commit to what you’re trying to do, and be intentional.

In addition to the guidance provided by the panelists from today’s event, PayScale has prepared a guide to help organizations get started with pay equity and pay fairness. The Pay Equity Action Plan tells you what to watch out for in pay equity, clarifies the difference between pay equity and pay fairness, and gives you practical tips for paying fairly and equitably in your organization. Check it out!

Mykkah Herner
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