GoDaddy pays women in leadership roles 98 cents on average for every dollar men make. While not perfect, the web services company is taking serious steps to close the gender pay gap--and it's already ahead of the national average, which is between 78 and 80 cents on the dollar, by most accounts.

For the second consecutive year, the Scottsdale, Arizona-based company, released data Wednesday on salaries and promotion rates for different jobs in the company, broken down by gender. The purpose is to compare how women are compensated and promoted versus men in the same job. GoDaddy hopes the analysis will improve its understanding of the difference in career trajectories that can lead to a gap in pay.

"Equal pay isn't a reality across our industry, or America as a whole," says GoDaddy CEO Blake Irving. "There's still much work to do to make it so. We can't solve a problem unless we know the depth of the problem." Irving also says he encourages other companies to share their data publicly.

For its part, the company's anonymized numbers show that women in technical jobs actually make a penny more than their male counterparts. But the pay gap is more evident in senior leadership, where men make about 2 cents more on the dollar than women in similar roles. Women make up only a quarter of senior leadership, even less than last year, and the share of women among GoDaddy's engineers ticked up only one percentage point, to 21 percent.

To encourage greater diversity, GoDaddy's strategy is multipronged. Here are just three ways the company is looking to add more women to its upper ranks.

1. Nix bias from the promotion process.

To ensure men and women are evaluated on the same terms and equitably promoted, GoDaddy is employing the help of Stanford's Clayman Institute, which offers research and recommendations on gender equality. One method GoDaddy uses to pinpoint unconscious bias in promotions and reviews is to ask managers to articulate their logic for pay, promotion and hiring decisions. GoDaddy's chief product officer Steven Aldrich adds that the company has worked to weed out biased language in its job descriptions and performance evaluations.

2. Find targeted sources for recruitment.

Based on the numbers, GoDaddy recognized a need to beef up its recruitment of women into senior engineering positions. Coding academies that focus on women, like HackBright and Ada, help GoDaddy recruit diverse new talent. And a partnership with nonprofit PathForward, which facilitates internship programs for midcareer professionals, helps the company hire experienced women for senior positions.

Recruiting efforts have also focused heavily on filling the pipeline to senior roles with early-career women engineers. This year, 50 percent of its recent college graduate hires in engineering are women; that's up from 14 percent in 2014 and 39 percent in 2015. "Our job now is to make sure they stay with the company and are steadily promoted," says Auguste Goldman, GoDaddy's chief people officer.

3. Help the best talent move up.

In addition to tracking salary and promotion rates for its 5,000 employees, GoDaddy plans to look at "time in role" numbers to determine how well workers are promoted and at what point in the career ladder attrition is occurring. If women are stagnant in their roles compared with men, it's a signal that workers might not be receiving the same opportunities for professional growth.

"We encourage all companies to release their salary data," Goldman says. "Even if it's uncomfortable, you have to see the data so you can have the conversation."

Published on: Oct 12, 2016