It is no secret that there is a gender gap in how employees are paid, though estimates vary as to how large it is. Unfortunately, this gap can cause disengagement and lower productivity, which translates into lower profits. What is there to do in order to eliminate this business inhibitor? According to an article by SHRM, here are 5 tips on closing the gender gap:
- Lawyer up on data collection. Collecting data to show that a problem exists or to break through denial at your company is sometimes necessary. However, if the data is not collected under attorney-client privilege, it will likely be discoverable and your good-faith efforts could be used against you. Give careful and thoughtful consideration to how you work with your employer’s lawyer to maximize the likelihood that the privilege will apply to every circumstance.
- Analyze positions qualitatively. Once you have documented pay gaps, never assume that they are all attributable to gender. There are often legitimate business reasons for wage differences. While quantitative data provides a starting point, it is essential to assess the relevant qualitative factors at play to determine if changes need to be made.
- Allow negotiations. Many professionals feel that it is necessary to ban salary negotiations due to the theory that allowing such bargaining inherently benefits men. However, this idea only reinforces the stereotype that women aren’t capable negotiators and takes away an individual’s power to play a role in determining their own pay. How someone negotiates may be relevant to whether you hire him or her. It is better than a behavioral question. Instead, it creates a behavioral simulation.
- Reconsider asking about salary history. When information about prior salary is asked, we may be unintentionally maintaining the gender gap created by previous employers. This sometimes ends up in a material increase to compensation but could still be less than the candidate deserves. Consider eliminating the salary history question from your applicants.
- Train your leaders. A woman should not have to choose between being well-liked or well-paid, so educate your leaders about the unconscious biases that can come into play in cases where women negotiate no differently from men. Once people are made aware of their own prejudice, they are less likely to unconsciously engage in it. Simply training leaders to be aware of their own can have a great impact on closing the gender gap.