When it comes to questions about why a gender pay gap exists, I think I’ve heard them all. Are women paid less due to gender bias? Is it due to the fact that more women work part-time? Maybe they just choose lower paying jobs.
Does it matter?
Yes, it does.
I’ve been in situations where I’ve been paid less than a male counterpart despite delivering more value and it’s a terrible injustice. I’ve made it a mission to close that gap and now as head of Talent Acquisition and Workforce Strategies at Citrix, I’m seeing the positive effects.
The bottom line is the gender pay gap still exists and real companies are addressing it in innovative ways. It’s too deep of an issue that it won’t only be resolved through legislation or edicts. It can, however, be resolved by forward-thinking companies who lead the way in demonstrating practical, logical paths that benefit all stakeholders. Most importantly, it will be solved by leaders with a commitment to putting people first. These are companies who are addressing the problem thoughtfully, knowing that reaching the goal is worth taking on the challenges.
Not an Isolated Issue
At our company, we like to look at things holistically. Our culture is one where the belonging and respect are always top of mind because it’s been embedded in the way we do business, this includes closing the gender pay gap.
We have a unique structure where diversity and inclusion are tied hand-in-hand with talent acquisition and run by the same team. That’s one of the reasons why we have had success in addressing some of the issues that other companies face. For us, we’ve gotten really good at identifying ways to attract the right talent, set the right pace and stay true to our culture.
It is important to attract diverse talent at competitive wages and to hire based on the skill set, not previous salary. And once they are in the organization, we make sure there is a career path in place.
Removing Subjectivity in Pay
To start, we thoroughly evaluated our global pay policies. What we found was that there was very little statistical difference in roles. That was really great news and helped validate our efforts.
We then set up a job framework and linked market pay to each individual job. This ties pay to the role, not the person, and removes the subjectivity out of the equation that can cause potential discriminatory issues. In fact, we no longer ask about previous salary history. We have confidence that our total rewards are competitive to the roles in the marketplace.
This concept of paying for the role and contribution helps keep gender pay gap issues in check, even for our current staff — if you’re an existing employee looking at internal mobility and getting another job within the company, your current salary is deemed inconsequential.
Additionally, we are working to train managers in how unconscious bias can affect their decisions and modify our processes to mitigate the bias that we all have in order to create a meaningful employee experience for all.
The Importance of Diversity and Inclusion
While the subject at hand is the gender pay gap, I believe the solution is in diversity and inclusion. This has the added value of bringing in more diverse ideas, concepts, and opinions to an organization. The more diversity at your table the better your ability to appeal to various market segments.
Diversity, however, won’t matter much without inclusion. Inclusion is the component that helps assure that the diverse voices are heard. It helps everyone to know their voice carries weight and it helps to foster a sense of belonging. They have the ability to engage at work and to be their true selves.
In an article addressing similar issues, Sarah Kaiser, Employee Experience, Diversity & Inclusion Lead at Fujitsu EMEIA, says the key to getting started is an equal pay audit. “The principle here is unarguable. If you’re not paying people fairly, they’re not going to do their best for you. Although equal pay for equal work is the law in almost all countries now, it’s still possible for differences to creep in over time.”
Kaiser added, “If there are gaps, then investigate the root causes and determine whether they can be justified. If not, then you need to act to address them. Achieving equal pay for equal work gives you a solid foundation to build on but ensuring equal opportunity regardless of gender requires a bit more thought.”
That is what thoughtfully bridging the gender pay gap is all about. It is about resolving gender pay gap issues while also addressing issues of age, race, gender, and disability. That’s one thing that differentiates Citrix: diversity and inclusion are factored into every step of an employee’s journey with us. It is all-encompassing and resolves the gender pay gap issue along the way.
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