Across all industries, women tend to get paid less than men for the equivalent job. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median weekly salary for female physicians working full-time in the U.S. is $1,497, while for men it is $2,087. Female architects and engineers earn 83.7 percent to the dollar in comparison to men. Women in computer and mathematical occupations earn 81 percent to the dollar in comparison to men. The numbers are well-known.
To close the gap, there have been numerous suggestions offered. Women should strengthen their negotiation skills to fight for the salaries they deserve. They should marry supportive husbands who encourage them to put in the extra time and effort at work to put them on equal standings with their male counterparts.
Those solutions carry a lot of truth, but there is also ample room for organizations, managers, and HR to do better.
"There's also a role here for organizations to play," she writes. "Women's actions alone will not solve the systemic pay gap."
Ashton recommends organizations take the following steps to close the gap:
- Managers and HR should determine the level of knowledge, responsibility, and value to the company for each job. Then they need to ensure that any job offer they make corresponds to that value and isn't impacted by what a candidate previously earned.
- Make sure that promotions and raises are objective and bias-free.
- Analyze pay equity every year to make sure the numbers are based on factors like market value and experience. Perform these analyses right before you are considering merit increases so you can make adjustments if necessary.
- Discuss any raises in a peer group setting so that you can determine realistic goals for your staff.
- Be open about compensation. Publish the criteria used to determine pay and merit increases or bonuses alongside pay range so that employees are aware of how these decisions are being made.
- Make it known who is in charge of ensuring equitable pay for both men and women, whether that be a manager or HR officer or a compensation review committee.