[I first published this as part of the LinkedIn Thought Leaders]
Being a woman means statistically I will be paid less! It is that simple. Surely it is not that hard to fix. Each year in Australia (usually around the time of International Women’s day) the government releases a report to say – yet again there is a massive disconnect between what men and women are paid for the same job and the same amount of work experience; known as the gender pay gap.
Australia has a persistent gender pay gap. Between 1990 and 2009, the gender pay gap remained within a narrow range of between 15 and 17%. In 2010 it sat at 16.9%. Is this the same in other countries?
“Using robust microeconomic modelling techniques, based on a comprehensive and critical evaluation of several methodologies, we found that simply being a woman is the major contributing factor to the gap in Australia, accounting for 60 per cent of the difference between women’s and men’s earnings” A 2009 report by the National Center for Social and Economic Modelling
Recently I was speaking to a leader of a large business who said – “we bring male and female university graduate’s into our business on the same pay and conditions – yet within 2 years we see a pay difference of up to 15%”. These are not women who have yet left the workforce to have a family so you could argue statistically they have been given the same opportunities and responsibilities as their male counterparts.
This means that in each individual persons performance review or salary assessment; systematically each female is being discriminated against. Is this what they call ‘unconscious bias’? I’m sure these women’s managers do not even realise they are doing it. Is the inequity of women’s pay (even though equal pay for equal work was legislated in 1969 and anti-discrimination on the basis of sex was legislated in 1984) something that is deeply set in our subconscious?
Whilst the below amusing video demonstrates the impact of ‘fair reward’ – I would argue that most women don’t know what their male counterparts are being paid. To reduce the gender pay gap it is going to take commitment from business leaders… and data – to make a lasting change.
We know that the Gillard government has committed to looking at equal pay for lower paid workers – but I would argue that it is every business leaders responsibility to ask for a review of their business to find out…. ‘for the same role and responsibility what are men and women paid?’ Is there a gap – and if there is a gap – what is being done about it! Action will speak louder than words – simply make the adjustments to make if fair – quickly.
If you have 10,000 employees and you find out that women are paid 5% less than men – simply update their salary now by the 5%. No if, buts or maybe’s… no business can afford the bad press of being identified as discriminatory. A business will more than recover the cost of the increase in the uplift of employee engagement from the women and the ‘PR-ability’ of knowing that you are a truly ‘fair’ employer.
Have a look at your numbers today .