Human Resources News & Insights

Make sure your male and female employees are paid equally: 4 steps to close the gap

Of course, most employers don’t set out to intentionally pay female employees less than male employees. Nevertheless, it ends up happening a lot more than you’d expect. 

Recent studies reveal that, on average, women still earn 82 cents for every dollar earned by men. And a lot of companies could be paying women less without even realizing it.

Adjusting the scales

The good news is, discovering and correcting pay disparities isn’t too difficult. On Inc.com, Finance Writer Helaine Olen shared four things employers should do to ensure equal pay between their male and female employees.

  1. Conduct a pay audit. The first step is examining every employee’s salary to see if there is a pay gap, and how big it is. When looking at pay, it’s crucial to make sure you’re really comparing apples to apples; you might think two people are doing the same job, but after a closer look realize one has more responsibilities than the other. You’ll want to make sure you’re not only looking at current salaries, but past ones as well. This includes examining and raises — do men tend to earn raises more than women?
  2. Be transparent about salary. Often, pay gaps can happen when a bunch of employees are hired around the same time. Studies show that men are more likely to negotiate a higher salary when offered the job. So if you aren’t upfront about what you’re willing to shell out for the position, women might unknowingly settle for less money.
  3. Check your promotions. Examine the pattern of who is typically put up for promotions. Is it mostly men? This is referred to as the “position gap.” A company may start out paying men and women equally, but if women are rarely groomed for leadership positions, men will generally still earn more. Keeping qualified men and women in mind for all promotions will help restore the pay and position balance.
  4. Repeat this process routinely. Maintaining equal pay takes more than a one-time fix. To make sure you don’t slip back into old pay habits, it’s important to routinely monitor salaries, especially when new people come on board or yearly raises are given out. As your company grows, you’ll want to make sure men and women continue to have equal earning opportunities.

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