This past Sunday’s episode of 60 Minutes featured a segment highlighting the still prevalent problem of unequal pay in the workplace. With women being paid 20% less than men on average, Lesley Stahl took a closer look at how difficult, yet doable, closing this pay gap can be. She turned her sights to Salesforce, a leading technology company that specializes in customer relationship management (CRM) software, with more than 30,000 employees and ranked by Fortune as the number one place to work for large companies. When CEO Marc Benioff was approached by his Chief People Officer, Cindy Robbins, in 2015 about concerns over pay inequality, he did not think that it was a problem that applied to their organization. But it did.
Much focus has been given to correcting the gender pay gap but are we doing enough? During his interview, Benioff brought up a stunning comment made by The World Economic Forum stating that it will take more than 100 years for us to pay men and women equally. Yes, 100 years! Thankfully, a lot of companies are not satisfied with that answer and are doing what they can to correct the disparity in pay much sooner. But what you might find in your organization, like Robbins found at Salesforce, is that leadership can often be taken aback by the idea that their organization might be perpetuating the problem. It is up to those in HR to gather any relevant data and present it to decisionmakers so that an action plan can be set in place.
We know that a variety of factors influence an employee’s pay: their experience, years of service, education, location, and the job itself. The problem arises when a man and women, with comparable backgrounds, are paid differently for doing the same job. So, if your company is paying a male Accountant II differently than an equally experienced female Accountant II, this raises a red flag. But what might not be so obvious is that job titles aren’t always created equally. It’s like that Twix commercial where the actors light-heartedly say, “got just about as much in common with you as a Mortician and me as an Undertaker” and “you a Janitor or me a Custodian”. We know that these jobs are nearly identical in function and responsibility, but the job title can sometimes hide these similarities. When analyzing your data, it’s critical that you look beyond the job title and evaluate the actual duties and responsibilities of the job. Some states, like California for example, have gone so far as to redefine or reword “equal pay for equal work” to “equal pay for substantially similar work”. So even if two jobs aren’t exactly equal but are substantially similar, pay should be the same.
The task of auditing all your jobs can be daunting, but with an automated Job Information and Description Management (JIDM) tool like JDXpert, you can use technology to your advantage. JDXpert comes with several features that can help facilitate a project. Features like: