Portions of this article were originally posted on Forbes.com.
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 conscience in the market place will be those that develop and implement programs to address the wage gap issue. In fact, new research by Lauren McGoodwin at the Career Contessa suggests that closing the wage gap could be a crucial strategy for survival in today’s war for talent.
Lauren McGoodwin’s most recent study, The Salary Project 2019 Study, revealed some intriguing insights. In particular, McGoodwin found that 65% percent of respondents (who were 94% female) were “very” or “somewhat” satisfied with their current job. Despite this statistic, 70% of respondents were actively or passively searching for a new job.
Job Satisfaction Level of Respondents
Job Search Status of Respondents
In other words, women in the workforce might be “happy” at their current position, but they’re job searching anyway. It’s not hard to see how this factors into an environment where it’s truly an “employee’s market”—with record low unemployment rates, employees have the power, and it’s essential that your company take note if you want to attract, recruit, and retain top talent in your industry.
McGoodwin concludes in her study, “Women specifically are sick of not being paid equally or promoted as frequently. Thus, they are constantly looking for new opportunities.”
What are you doing in your company to ensure you’re paying women equally and retaining top talent? Here are some tips to assess your company’s pay equity.
1. Review Compensation Annually
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 underrepresented by women.
2. Strategize to Hire More Women
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 conferences, join professional organizations and further their education.
4. Promote Women in Leadership
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. Review Your Benefits
Create your employee benefits to attract and retain females. Women-friendly benefits include paid maternity and paternity leave, flexible work hours, remote work opportunities, paid sick leave, paid family leave, and comprehensive medical benefits. Survey your employees to identify the most valued benefits. Promote a culture of family-friendliness in your company starting with educating management on these values and strategies for supporting this culture.
With a simple assessment of your company’s current processes, you can identify and remediate any pay inequity in your business. In today’s job market, it may be part of your key to success. The actions you take today to reduce pay disparities in your organization could be the difference between growth and stagnation in this competitive talent market.
Do you have a strategy to win the war for talent?
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