Most businesses have heard of the "gender pay gap" — statistics which show that women earn a fraction of what men earn for equal work — but dismissing this problem within your own company is easy for managers and owners to do. However, with increasing pressure on wages and difficulty retaining quality employees, resolving any gender pay gap issues can help you solve a variety of problems now and avoid future ones.
Here's how to assess and address your potential gender pay gap.
Gather Data. The first step in determining whether there are pay discrimination issues is to gather information on how your employees are paid right now. The best way to do this research is to hire a professional pay consulting service that knows what it's looking for. You need more data than simply names and salaries. It involves understanding the work functions of each job, making comparisons, and gathering external data on pay scales.
Lead from the Top. Once you have the data in hand that shows a gender pay gap in your company, owners and executives must be willing to recognize its value and make adjustments. There are many reasons that a pay discrepancy can be justified legitimately, but you must be ready to question your own assumptions about hidden problems like unconscious bias. Change must start at the top of your management if it is to become permanent.
Train Managers. If you're surprised by a significant pay gap, you may want to spend time retraining the culture in your own company. While you could simply adjust salaries and move on, the pay gap will likely creep back up if you don't change the way managers and executives think. An unexpected pay discrepancy is not just a number — it's a sign that you should focus on recognizing hidden biases and quietly discriminatory behavior.
Take Practical Steps. Along with making cultural changes, take practical steps. Adjust some salaries to reduce the current gap. Look for ways to boost the promotion of high-quality women workers into the upper echelons of your company. Talk with employees about what holds them back from seeking higher positions or higher pay — and then brainstorm workable solutions. Work with outside consultants to root out hidden biases in the hiring process, merit raises, and bonuses. And set deadlines and goals for making an identifiable improvement.
Ready to start addressing pay issues that may be holding back your company from attracting and keeping the best employees? Start by talking with a consulting firm like Fox Lawson & Associates, A Division of Gallagher Benefit Services Inc. in your area today.