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This week marks the 23rd year of the National Equal Pay Day which was originated by the National Committee on Pay Equity in 1996. The event serves as a public awareness to the nation to illustrate the gap between men and women’s wages. Each year the day falls on a Tuesday to represent how far into the next work week women must work to earn what men earned the previous week.
The Institute for Women’s Policy and Research reports that on average, women continue to earn considerably less than men. In 2017, female employees made only 80.5 cents for every dollar earned by men. This difference constitutes a twenty percent gap in wages between male and female employees.
The reasons for the gender wage gap vary, but companies can take actions to narrow this gap and provide opportunities for women to earn higher wages by assuming leadership roles or hiring more women for specific roles.
Women constitute almost half of the workforce and companies that want to be competitive with a social conscious in the market place will be those that develop and implement programs to address the wage gap issue.
5 Strategies to Narrow the Wage Gap
1. Begin by conducting an annual review of the compensation of each employee within your organization. Compare the earnings of males versus females for similar positions or positions within the same salary grade. If you find disparities, make adjustments to correct inconsistencies.
Review the type and level of all positions to determine which positions are held by women and men. Rank the positions by level from the lowest paying to the highest. Review the data to see if there are inconsistencies in the number of higher-level positions men represent in your company compared to women.
This review will help you determine inequities that may exist so that you can make wage adjustments or identify positions that are under represented by women.
2. Develop diversity sourcing strategies to locate more women applicants. Research your industry to find women groups to advertise your positions. For example, Women in Tech and Women in Technology International are two groups for women in the technology industry. When searching Google, build a Boolean search string to help your search efforts. Use “group OR club OR society Or membership” for sourcing applicants from these organizations. Search applicants from women universities and use the names of every Greek sorority in your Boolean string. You can obtain a list of sororities from Wikipedia.
3. Invest in training. Develop a training and mentoring program for future leaders. Solicit women for the program. The training should address issues women face when promoting to leadership positions such as negotiation, managing conflict, conducting difficult conversations, communicating with confidence and company finance. As part of your training program, identify on-the-job learning opportunities such as leading a particular project or developing a new program. Pay for professional development opportunities. Encourage women to attend women conferences, join professional organizations and further their education.
4. Promote women in leadership roles in the news, on social media and on your website. Empower your women leaders to speak about their accomplishments both inside your company and in the community. Encourage women in leadership roles to mentor other women. Invite women leaders to your recruiting events. Include women testimonials on your company careers page.
5. Create your employee benefits to attract and retain females. Women-friendly benefits include paid paternal leave, flexible work hours, working remotely, paid sick leave, paid family leave, and comprehensive medical benefits. Survey your employees to identify the most valued benefits. Promote a culture of family-friendly in your company starting with educating management on these values and strategies for supporting this culture.
Pay inequity is often unintentional and until companies conduct a review of their compensation, they often are unaware of the inequities that may exist. Narrowing the wage gap between males and females will take time and effort. Although you cannot reject hiring an overqualified man in order to hire an under-qualified female, you can develop strategies to seek more women applicants and develop female leaders within your company.
April 1, 2019 at 08:58AM
Forbes – Entrepreneurs