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Gender Gap Closed? Who Thinks So? Apparently, We Do!

Gender Gap Closed? Who Thinks So? Apparently, We Do!

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According to Glassdoor’s Global Gender Pay Gap Survey published this February, 3/4 of the 8000 adults surveyed globally believe that men and women are paid equally for the same skills, knowledge and experience (and 2/3 of them also thought they were also ‘fairly’ compensated.)


At first, I was skeptical and assumed men might have dominated this survey…by a lot. But no, surprisingly Glassdoor (subcontracting this to the Harris Poll) actually points out the differences on this survey between men and women:

In the US, 70% believe there is no gender gap:
78% of US men believe there is no gender pay disparity as do 60% of the women surveyed (less but still a majority!)

The US was not alone. Adults were surveyed in seven countries and a majority in every country from France (65%) to the Netherlands (83%) believed that there was no gender pay gap.

And yet, there is. Don’t get me started but, happy to share that research if you can’t find it with  a simple – even non-Boolean search of Google or Bing.

The Glassdoor summary offered some suggestions teased from the ¼ of US respondents who believed there is a gap:

  • Improve company policies around pay and compensation.
  • Support Government legislation requiring employers to pay all people equally
  • Develop clearer communication from senior leaders and human resources about how pay raises, bonuses and cost of living increases are determined.
  • Improve Internal pay transparency for all roles i.e. publish salaries.
  • “One in five women (19 percent) who believe there is a pay gap also believe that women should demand pay raises more frequently [than men] to impact the gap.”

Not surveyed, but bubbling up is a more radical solution:
It could become illegal to solicit salary information from candidates.

Last year a bill nearly made it into law in California that would have made it illegal to ask a candidate their salary. It didn’t get all the way. However, according to SHRM’s Roy Maurer, Rethinking the Salary History Question, another bill is, right now, “winding its way through the Massachusetts Legislature would prohibit recruiters from asking prospective hires about their salary histories”.

Katie Donovan, a consultant involved with the Equal Pay Negotiations organization and who helped craft the bill, states in the article, “The elimination of the salary history question allows women and their employers to hit the reset button with each new job”

If the bill is made law, employers in Massachusetts would have to ‘value’ each job. One likely benefit is they would have less reason to hide or avoid stating the compensation on their website. We would also suspect there could be some new work for compensation and rewards experts.

Unless employers aggressively tackle their own internal research (analytics to the rescue) to determine for themselves what pay gaps exist for gender, race and other protected classes, class action land mines will explode. Data, not belief is going to dictate how this issue gets addressed

At the very least, Talent Acquisition leaders should:

  • Establish a clear philosophy and set of practices around pay offers to selected candidates.
  • Train recruiters and hiring managers on the practices.
  • Do not ask/eliminate salary/compensation history on applications.
  • Recruiters should either not ask salary/compensation history at all or, do so only when equitably sharing the salary range of the position and variables considered in establishing an offer. (Perception of Fairness is a critical Candidate Experience factor).
  • Ensure recruiters guide selected candidates by offering transparency around what can and cannot be negotiated and what has historically been negotiated so that all (men and women) are on the same page.
  • Audit offers for disparity.
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