Diversity & Inclusion

Moving Toward Equality: Fixing the Gender Pay Gap

Gender pay discrepancies happen for a lot of reasons, some of which may seem legitimate on the surface. But regardless of how they occur, employers can be proactive in eliminating these discrepancies in their workplace.

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Source: Olivier Le Moal / iStock / Getty

Here are a few actions employers can take to eliminate gender-based pay discrimination:

  • Don’t request pay history to determine new hire salaries. Basing starting pay on previous pay can inadvertently perpetuate previous discriminatory pay practices, so to keep pay levels fair and consistent, pay ranges should be determined before candidates are screened. Pay should be based on job requirements, not on the applicant’s previous salary. Ensure everyone involved in the hiring process uses this tactic; it can go a long way toward ensuring pay is based on the role.
  • Proactively complete a pay assessment for all employees, and determine if there are similar roles that have different pay levels. Fix any discrepancies you find, but remember that there may be roles with different titles that have substantially similar responsibilities.
  • Assess your organization’s benefits to see if there are ways the company could better support employees and encourage them to remain in the workforce even if family needs change. People often leave the workplace when family needs change because they find there are limited options that enable them to be a caregiver while continuing to have a career. By encouraging employees to stay onboard, this can help lessen gender imbalances at higher levels in the organization.
  • Review all roles in the organization to see where there are gender imbalances. Proactively assess why there may be imbalances in certain jobs, departments, or levels of the company, and put together a plan to address those imbalances and encourage better gender representation. When some groups cannot get into higher-paying roles or advance in the organization, it widens the overall gender pay gap, so assess whether there are policies or other issues that prevent some people from joining the organization or advancing within it.
  • Assess all job posts to look for words that may discourage some applicants. Wording can be very powerful and can act to encourage or discourage certain applicants. Be aware of whether the wording for low-paying roles is significantly different from the wording used for higher-paying roles.
  • Determine how much pay transparency the organization is comfortable with. Pay transparency can seem intimidating at first, but it can be a way to encourage appropriate pay practices among different parts of the organization.
  • Ensure everyone involved in hiring, promoting, or any other employment factor treats all employees fairly and consistently. This includes not retaliating against individuals who take protected forms of leave, like Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) leave, or those who take advantage of benefits like remote work options.

What other actions has your organization taken to encourage gender parity in the workplace or to eliminate the gender pay gap? What has your experience been?