Article: Tackling the workplace gender inequality

Diversity

Tackling the workplace gender inequality

Companies can address the gender pay gap and drive pay equity by promoting transparency in terms of pay disclosure, setting objective criteria for pay and promotions and by increasing awareness of the barriers women face in reaching higher positions.
Tackling the workplace gender inequality

In the past few decades, companies across the globe have evolved into diverse multicultural organizations where men and increasingly women participate equally. These changes have created the need for a transparent system ensuring fair opportunities for all. Compensation, amongst other matters, has come under close scrutiny. The issue of gender pay gap has become an area of focus and urgent action.

The issue of gender discrimination in the labor market in the form of a persistent gender wage gap and low labor force participation for women is a well researched area globally.

In the Global Gender Gap Report 2015, India was ranked 129th out of 145 countries for “wage equality for similar work”, reporting that women make 51% of what men do. Another disappointing trend was reported by Assocham, wherein the female labour force participation rate is said to have fallen by 10 % during the period of 2005-2014. 

In India, there is evidence of the ‘sticky floor’ phenomenon, where gender wage gaps are higher at the bottom end of the distribution. At Babajob, our blue collar industry specific data indicates that there has been an 87.67% increase in jobs looking to hire women over the past two years, while jobs looking for male professionals increased by 42.48% over the same period. The growth was predominantly seen in jobs traditionally dominated by women such as maids, cooks and beauticians, though there has also been an increase in other fields such as data entry and sales. Despite this steady growth in demand, salaries have not equalized, as women are still regularly paid lesser than their male counterparts in the same professions and positions.

We have seen rapid growth in the number of jobs looking to hire women; in the last year alone, employers posted jobs specifying women at four times the rate of jobs specifying men.  Yet, those jobs offered women approximately 15.43% less money than men. For instance, average entry level salary in the BPO industry for women is Rs. 11,664/- while for men it s Rs. 13,792/-.  

A lot of organizations have made gender diversity their agenda, with an increased focus on hiring more women and retaining new mothers as they return to the workforce. This is especially relevant as more women join the labor force around the world. Companies cannot afford to ignore 50% of the potential workforce and expect to be competitive in the global economy. By eliminating, decreasing or not engaging female representation within a workplace, half of the talent pool available and the unique attributes that female workers can bring from entry level through to boardroom are lost out on. Today,  it is about building a workforce that is as diverse as your customer base and leveraging that diversity as a competitive advantage. Indeed, by cultivating “diversity of thought,” businesses can boost innovation, improve decision making, and use their workforce more effectively

A person’s sex is not an indicator of either talent or competence, and this simple truth must be a key component of diversity strategies that reflect the world we live in. Valuing employees by ensuring pay equity should be an important component in a company’s hiring and retention strategy. The imbalance in pay can be traced back to gender biases against women that seep into human resource processes in organizations. Actively managing pay equity should be a priority for companies – not only because paying women and men equally is the right thing to do, but also because it makes good business sense. Pay equity is an important tool for companies to advance women into leadership positions. An equitable pay system allows companies to retain the best talent, boost participation of women in the workforce, and build a positive company image. 

Companies can address the gender pay gap and drive pay equity by promoting transparency in terms of pay disclosure, setting objective criteria for pay and promotions and by increasing awareness of the barriers women face in reaching higher positions. Companies can set a threshold, target and maximum for pay increases or bonuses to ensure equitable, merit-based reward distribution among men and women. 

The growth benefits of unlocking the economic potential of women are substantial. The business case for advancement of women and pay parity is compelling and as a community, we need to work towards it. 

Read full story

Topics: Diversity

Did you find this story helpful?

Author

QUICK POLL

What is your top focus area for reinventing work in the hybrid world of work?

How can we prepare for a challenging 2023?

READ our latest issue for tips and suggestions.