Glassdoor’s Pay Equality Roundtable: 5 Takeaways Employers Need to Know

Glassdoor's Pay Equality Roundtable: 5 Takeaways Employers Need to Know

Glassdoor’s CEO and Co-founder Robert Hohman hosted a roundtable discussion in New York City today (Equal Pay Day) on pay equality featuring Hillary Clinton and other leaders like Dan Henkle, president of the Gap Foundation & SVP of global sustainability. The panelists discussed the true cost of the gender pay gap, not just to individuals, but also to businesses. And smart employers, like Gap, are paying attention. A majority (93%) of American employees believe that men and women should be paid equally for equal work and 67 percent of U.S. employees are not likely to apply to a job at a company where they believe a pay gap exists between men and women doing similar work. This issue matters to many employees.

Here are the 5 biggest lessons employers can learn from the panelists and the discussion.

The Gender Pay Gap Affects Everyone

Hillary Clinton opened the panel by reminding us of the data on the gender pay gap. But she also noted that for African American and Hispanic women, it’s worse. And it’s not just women – it affects you. “If you are a man married to a woman. If you are son to a working woman, if you are a daughter to a working woman, this is your problem too.” Employers too are affected, for good or bad. As Robert Hohman said, “Companies that get in front of this, that embrace this and begin to look at this data, and take action will have a disproportionate advantage when it comes to hiring.”

Data is Empowering

Glassdoor’s most recent research, which reviewed more than 500,000 salary reports, found that when comparing workers with similar age, education, years of experience, then the same job title, employer and location there was an unexplained gender pay gap of 5.4%. Dan Henkle shared that Gap conducted an analysis of its male and female employee wages and found 100% parity, but still analyzed for other areas where women might be shortchanged, such as promotion speed and bonuses. The bottom line is data matters when it comes to understanding where a problem may exist and to creating change. When 60% of employees say they wouldn’t apply to a company if they knew a pay gap existed there, it’s important for companies to analyze their own data to understand where any problems lie and take action.

Women Feel Alone and Need Permission to Discuss Pay 

Hillary Clinton and Lori Mishura MacKenzie, executive director of Stanford’s Clayman Institute, shared instances where women feel they need to protect their jobs and don’t ask for more. Clinton said, “it should be prohibited that you could be fired or retaliated against if you accidentally or deliberately learn that unequal pay exists at your job.” The Paycheck Fairness Act aims to make this illegal, yet it still happens. The takeaway here for employers is that if you want to create a fair environment for employees to talk pay, managers and employees need to know and feel they have a safe environment to discuss these issues.

We All Need To Stretch Ourselves to Confront this Issue

As Dan Henkle noted, the Gap voluntarily analyzed its data in honor of its female co-founder, and went even further by having its numbers audited and slicing the data in other ways. Robert Hohman said that most CEOs he speaks to don’t see the problem—but it’s because they haven’t looked at the data. He said, “it takes courage to look at your numbers and find out what can’t be explained.” In other words, employers need to embolden themselves in order to create greater pay equality

The Time To Act is Now

Each of the panelists agreed unequivocally that the time to act is now. Lori Mishura MacKenzie reminded us that managers can do this every day by questioning whether or not they are evaluating performance and giving feedback fairly.

We may finally be at a tipping point for gender pay equality. If you don’t know where you stand, it’s time to take a closer look. Take a lesson from Salesforce and Gap who have pro-actively inspected their pay and gotten their compensation house in order. When it comes to gender pay fairness, executives will ultimately define the winners and losers. Where you and your company ultimately land is up to you

If your company has already taken steps to ensure pay equity, you should leverage that fact as part of your employer brand to stand out to candidates and employees.

Video Replay: Watch the entire Glassdoor Roundtable Discussion and learn more about what can be done to reach pay equality.

Photo Credit: Mark Von Holden, AP for Glassdoor