This week, Hollywood Actress Jennifer Lawrence posted a rant on the social media about not getting “her fair share”. In her essay, the actress highlights the unapparent aspect of sexism that exists in the film industry. While it would surprise many that the super-successful and popular Hunger Games actress has experienced pay disparity, we are aware that many corporations do not pay women as much as their male counterparts.
A recent report by Monster India states that women, on an average, earn 27% lesser than their male co-workers. The report also highlights the fact that women in IT industry earn as much as 34 percent less while in finance sector the gap is of 19 percent. Mere awareness of the issue doesn’t seem to be a step big enough to address this largely unfair disparity.
This has been the practice for many years now and women seem to be taking this unwarranted bias with a pinch of salt. Corporate leaders need to take this issue upon their shoulders to address it in order to raise the moral benchmark for corporations around the globe. Leaders need to realize that seeking a solution for this issue is not far- fetched. Following are some quick and definitive steps which could be implemented to address the issue at hand head on.
1. Problem: Once underpaid, always underpaid
Solution: Companies must bring about policy changes that would address the unreasonable gender bias in compensation and other benefits.
How: Management should build a plan wherein, they could, over a time frame, reduce salary disparities. It is important that the issues are handled at hiring and also during promotion stages, as that will create a sustainable approach to breach the pay gap.
2. Problem: Women have no idea how much their co-workers are paid.
Solution: Corporations should not shy from bringing about transparency in pay scale. Transparency in pay structure helps in winning the trust of employees who in turn commit themselves to the organizations’ larger goals.
How: Salaries should be transparent to the point that it does not end up being a competitive disadvantage for the organization. Such a policy would give the organization an edge over its competitors in term of ethics and would possibly reduce employee turnover. Example: Start-ups like Buffer and SumAll have already implemented this policy.
3. Problem: Women feel underappreciated for all the challenges they fight in order to succeed.
Solution: Design a fair rewarding strategy based on skills and contribution
How: Leaders should closely evaluate how often they identify and reward employees who contribute to create value for the organization. Accordingly, they could device an equitable rewarding strategy that is perceived as fair by employees irrespective of their gender.
4. Problem: Women hesitate to negotiate with employers while men are more inclined to demand a fair pay for their work.
Solution: At hiring stage, minimize gender-driven disparities by reducing salary deviation.
How: Your hiring managers should be aware of the fact that disparity starts in many cases at the hiring stage, putting guidelines on negotiation during the interview process would significantly reduce wage inequality.
At the end of the day, we live in a skill-driven market and high caliber talent will have the bargaining power in the long run, regardless of gender. Organizations should accelerate their journey to build an equitable, fair and level-playing field workplace.