Transparency may be our most important tool in reducing the gender pay gap. This includes transparency about the specific compensation and benefits for a position. When setting salaries, employers should compare their openings to similar positions within the field, consider the cost of living in the geographic area, and assess the level of experience required. By being transparent about the compensation before interviewing candidates, employers can avoid contributing to the wage gap due to implicit bias (see below) or by being influenced by candidates’ different negotiating styles. In contrast to valuing transparency, employers’ asking prospective employees to ‘name their price’ or basing salaries on their previous salary can reinforce gender disparities, which can then follow employees throughout their career and exacerbate the gender pay gap.
Many states and cities now require job postings to include a salary range. In addition to following the appropriate laws, employers should make sure to post narrow salary ranges that reflect the real expected compensation. In addition, employers should make it clear whether or not the salary will be negotiable.
Transparency among employees is also an important factor in addressing pay inequality. Employers should not discourage employees from discussing compensation among themselves, if they so choose, either through institutional culture or contractual restrictions. Although salary may seem like a private matter, secrecy prevents employees from knowing a disparity exists and thus allows it to continue unchecked.
ADDRESSING IMPLICIT BIAS
Everyone possesses bias, whether conscious or not. We must recognize our biases and then educate ourselves to keep those biases from defining our behaviors. It is important for employers and those engaged in hiring to acknowledge these biases before starting a search to ensure that biases do not influence decisions. To help address implicit bias, when comparing multiple resumes, employers may want to remove names or other identifiers, so the candidates will be judged solely upon experience. Learn more about Implicit Bias.
EMBRACING PAY EQUITY AS A JUSTICE ISSUE
WRJ, WRN, and other organizations within our Movement have been fighting for equality for women since our beginnings. Pay equity is a social justice and human rights issue because it addresses equal opportunity and just relations between an employer and their employee. Systematic racism and sexism allow pay inequity across the world. Together, we can change that narrative.