Pay Transparency: Less Talk, More Data

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Candidates hear a lot about unfair pay practices in the press but are almost always left in the dark when it comes to how a specific employer will treat them - exceptions like SalesForce and Corning notwithstanding. Transparency around gender pay equity is something US employers talk about without actually having to share where they are on the journey - but that window may be closing fast.

More than 10,000 Employers in the UK not only had to calculate their gender pay disparity for 2017 but publish it on their respective websites a couple of months ago. This UK government site has published all of it. You can filter by industry, size or, search for specific companies. Love it. (It will be very interesting to see what year over year 2018 data will show. We bet parity will occur in less than the 100 years some estimate that it will take when  a little public light is shown on this subject)

As an experiment, I searched by name and recorded the data provided for 11 well-known, easily recognizable employers - large, mostly US multinationals with at least 500 employees based in the UK. Four are financial services firms all in different sectors. Three are retail firms. Two are pharmaceutical firms and two are manufacturers.

Admittedly the UK may not align well to every definition of equal pay for equal work. Averages are also a bit of a problem. However, despite analyst nuances, the calculations are simple, require minimal work on the part of the employer and, when the outcomes of pay practices are reported and compared (instead of claims about how they treat compensation), a candidate can certainly make a more informed decision about whether the employer is likely to pay them fairly. The variations of data points supplied by employers offer useful insights and at the very least supply candidates and employees fodder for discerning questions.

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Sample gender pay gap data

Companies #101-#111 (you didn’t really think I would name them, did you?) reported the following data:

  • % Differences (mean and median) between Men and Women in base pay. A minus (-) would read, ”women are paid this [%] less than men.” 2 of the 11 notably pay women [slightly] more than men.
  • Distribution of women by % in each ‘pay band’ from hourly to executive (you’ll have to look closely at their definitions to see how that might or might not align).
  • Comparison of women and men eligible for a bonus.
  • The % difference between bonuses based on gender– in some cases quite different and I take some of it to be an indication of glass ceilings at highest pay levels – with three interesting exceptions.
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