7 Ways Employers Can Close the Gender Gap | Modis US

7 Ways Employers can Close the Gender Gap

Modis Posted 02 July 2019

Closing the gender wage gap is about more than just raising women's salaries. You'll get better results when you clear up the many misconceptions surrounding the gender pay gap conversation. That's how you can take some significant steps towards achieving equality in the workplace.

But as anyone who's ever tried to promote diversity in the tech industry can attest, it can be a daunting task to tackle gender issues and get everyone in the company on the same page. It may be easier to address the gender gap if you have an action plan to help you on your way.

What the gender pay gap is.

The gender pay gap or gender wage gap is the gap between what men and women are paid. Women are paid less than their male counterparts across nearly all occupations and industries. According to data from the Institute for Women's Policy Research (IWPR), in 2017, female full-time, year-round workers earned only 80.5 cents for every dollar earned by men. That's a gender wage gap of 20%.

And according to IWPR research, if efforts to close the gap proceed at the same glacial pace as it they have during the past fifty years, it will take women 40 years— until the year 2059— to finally achieve pay parity.

The gender pay gap: how it affects employers and employees.

Many factors contribute to produce the gender pay gap. These include: bias against working mothers, direct pay discrimination, occupational segregation, racial bias, age, access to education, employer practices, and disability. As a result, different groups of women live with very different gaps in pay.

No matter the cause, the gender pay gap is a real, long standing problem. Equal pay is not just a moral issue, it's an economic issue and public policy problem that is detrimental to women's economic security. According to a McKinsey study on women in the workplace, corporate America has made almost no progress improving women's representation during the past four years. The research shows that women are underrepresented at every level. Consider this:

  • Women make up 53% of the workforce.
  • In the United States of America, women earn only 80% of what men do and the U.S. gender pay gap is worse than the average for highly industrialized, high income countries.
  • The gender pay gap is particularly large in America for black women (61% of men's pay) and Latino women (53%).

Even though the tech sector is well aware of the benefits of a diverse workforce – like more innovation, attracting and retaining better employees, not to mention higher EBIT margins, cash flow, and sales volume – the business community does not seem to be making much progress in closing the gender gap.

That is why one of Modis President, Ger Doyle's priorities is fortifying Modis' already strong culture by increasing diversity and inclusion. According to Doyle, “We deal with a very diverse set of clients and candidates. We need to have a diverse set of executives to mirror the market. New thinking and innovation comes from a diverse group of people. People with different backgrounds challenge us as we transform."

When asked about his motivation Doyle mentioned his daughters. “I want to make sure the world they go into is a better world than my sisters moved into 30 years ago. There's a wide world of opportunity, and that world needs females."

The gender wage gap is a particularly sensitive issue for hiring managers in the IT industry because tech is the only field where women are underrepresented more than they were in 1990.

gender gap
Solving the pay gap issue isn't impossible. In fact, large companies like Salesforce and Starbucks have successfully addressed their wage issues. That gives a glimmer of hope for other companies struggling with this issue.

Here are seven tips to help your company eliminate pay gaps.

  1. Employers need to improve their hiring practices -- For example, when interviewing job applicants, employers should eliminate the practice of asking job applicants about their prior salaries. When filling leadership positions, hiring managers should hire more women at the senior-level and promote qualified women from within the company. Even in entry-level jobs, women are less likely to be hired than men which is also problematic.
  2. Employers should share salary data -- Companies who embrace transparent salary reporting and having frank and open discussions about compensation and benefits will find it easier to address wage gap issues. Sharing salary ranges with job applicants, allowing employees to talk with each other about wages without fear of reprisal, and encouraging employers and managers to start having conversations about pay equity are all ways to eliminate gender pay gaps.
  3. Employers should share wage gap data -- If companies (either voluntarily or compulsorily) share their gender gap data with the federal government and the general public, it would help hold them accountable for pay practices. Some companies like Salesforce and Intel have chosen to publicly disclose their wage gaps and then use pay audits to cut them.
  4. Employers should embrace the many opportunities to address gender issues -- There are a number of ways to promote diversity internally including offering sponsorship programs, unconscious bias training, engaging senior management, and working with companies that specialize in helping women who are returning to work .
  5. Get serious about diversity and inclusion metrics -- Some experts suggest linking managers' bonuses to company diversity and inclusion objectives. Holding supervisors accountable makes it more likely companies will track, measure, and improve their hiring and promotion practices.
  6. Employers can provide women with professional networks and resources -- Another way to close the gender pay gap is providing women with the network and resources that will help them advance professionally. In 2013, the Harvard Business Review found that one of the principal barriers to the advancement of women in the workplace was lack of access to informal networks that can provide important information. At Modis, women and men have access to join the Modis Women's leadership forum. The forum proudly hosts regular WebEx meetings featuring various keynote speakers covering topics relevant to success, career growth and personal development.
  7. Employers can implement fair and equal pay policies or actively begin working toward putting them in place.-- In many workplaces, there is a great deal of ambiguity concerning pay practices. Clear company policies help employees have confidence there are no inequity trends related to compensation. It is important to standardize company policies to make certain that not only are job-to-job pay disparities eliminated, but disparities between departments, function, managers, and location as well. Employers who are in need of comprehensive salary data for the IT & Engineering industry can request a free Technology & Engineering Salary Guide from Modis to get started.

Final Thoughts

Demonstrating diversity is a documented strategy to attract and retain top talent so, if you've been wondering, “How can the gender pay gap be solved?" or, “Can the gender pay gap be closed?" hopefully this short guide gave you some insights into ways you can begin to address the issue within your organization.

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