At SameWorks, we’ve developed tools and processes to help companies solve the pay gap. In order for our mission to succeed, we need your help. Companies are more likely to be motivated to solve this problem if their employees speak up and demand change.
Here are some important reasons why you should take action and stand up for pay equity:
1. You can’t afford to ignore the pay gap.
Though many publications quote that women earn 80 cents on every dollar earned by a man, the average difference between men and women in the US working the same job at the same company is 5.4%. That doesn’t sound like a lot, but:
If you’re making 5.4% less, at a salary of $80k, that adds up to $77k over 18 years!
$77,000 is enough money to:
- Open a savings account and send your child to college, debt free.
- Invest in a 401k or IRA for retirement and earn over $400k in compounding interest.
- Pay down a significant amount of a home’s mortgage, year-over-year.
- Invest and grow a fund to take care of your aging parents, when they need it.
People who are affected by the pay gap have worked hard to earn a fair salary, but are making less for the same amount of work. This is money that you should have earned, but will not be able to put towards buying a home, paying for childcare, traveling or visiting friends or family, or whatever else matters in your life. This is less money for your family each month, and you are accumulating wealth at a slower rate than your peers.
2. At the current rate, without action, our great-grandchildren will experience it.
Did you know that the pay gap is not going away anytime soon? In fact, it’s estimated that it won’t solve itself until 2152! Our children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren will all have to deal with this problem if we don’t take steps to fix it.
Parents: The hard work you are doing to provide your daughters’ every possible advantage in life should include active support for pay equity. Teaching them to negotiate strong and work hard is only half the battle.
It’s not difficult for companies to do the right thing, but without motivation from employees, few businesses will take the time to do so. Getting the results you would like to see in society requires that you become an active participant in seeing the change you’d like to see. Our great-great grandchildren will thank you.
3. The pay gap is even larger for minorities, and also changes based on age.
The Economic Policy Institute’s detailed 2016 study shows that black men earn on average 22% less than white men. Black women need to work 18 months on average to earn as much as a white man does on average in a year. Latinas in the United States are typically paid just 54 cents for every dollar paid to white, non-Hispanic men.
According to the AAUW, earnings for both female and male full-time workers tend to increase with age, though earnings increase more slowly after age 45 and even decrease after age 55. The gender pay gap also grows with age, and differences among older workers are considerably larger than gaps among younger workers. In 2016 women ages 20–24 were paid 96 percent of what men were paid, decreasing to 78–89 percent from age 25 to age 54. By the time workers reach 55–64 years old, women are paid only 74 percent of what men are paid.
4. Your company needs your support.
Your company probably hasn’t deliberately created a pay gap. Most often, companies’ hiring, recruitment and promotion practices are not as organized or structured as they should be. This creates commonplace issues with salary negotiation processes, such as asking salary history, which creates pay deltas between team members. Unconscious biases and pattern matching is a well-documented issue that comes up in almost every workplace, because these behaviors can be difficult to change, and require training and focus.
Informing your leadership about their role in solving this problem is an important first step for your company, and actual progress towards solving the bigger issue.
It takes effort for a company to change the way they recruit, promote, and compensate their employees. The catalyst for that change needs to come from within. You, as an employee, are a customer of your human resources department, and you can help motivate them to change their practices. This is a process that requires action, and annual follow-ups, to be successful.
How to take action
Tell your employer that the pay gap matters to you, personally. Even if you suspect you’re compensated fairly, there may be others within your organization that aren’t.
Suggest that your company undergo a pay equity audit as a way to ensure that all employees are compensated fairly, on the basis of merit, experience, education or tenure, not by their gender or ethnicity. SameWorks offers an inexpensive and easy to follow process that is also certified, so that employees can be sure a company complies with pay equity standards.
Follow up with your manager to ensure they are taking action on your concerns. Set a reminder for yourself to follow up in a few weeks.
Bottom line: Ask your boss if your company is considering SameWorks certification!