In 2015, women who worked full-time made only 79 cents for every dollar earned by men – for doing the same jobs – and yet 7 out of 10 employed adults believe they are paid equally. This discrepancy between reality and perception will not be solved in a day.
And while there may be top-down and systematic obstacles in place barring the way to equality, I wondered if the people who make hiring decisions can move the needle. I interviewed some leading practitioners and consultants in the talent management space in an attempt to dig up an answer to my question, and found that many simply feel they have no power – or it’s not their place – to affect change.
“I really don’t think a third-party recruiter bears any weight when it comes to reducing the gender wage gap,” said the female founder of a small recruitment agency who preferred not to be named.
Similarly Senior HR and Executive Search Consultant Madalina Uceanu said, “I am not sure it is in the hands of the recruiters or recruitment managers, but rather hiring managers or one level up. It is rather a systemic problem that, unfortunately, still has to do with the society and the biases we all have.”
This “not my problem” mindset is… well… disturbing but also valid.
In the case of the recruitment agency, it’s valid because the third-party agency’s job is to provide top talent to their clients and top wages for their talent. If both parties agree to the wage proposed by the company, who is the third-party recruitment agency to step in and say, ‘this wage is too low for this woman’? But I call it disturbing because here’s someone who has great sway in many hiring processes, and she believes that she does not have impact in the gender wage equality fight.
The good news is many other professionals do see a way they can change things for the better.
“Recruiters and hiring managers should work with their HR team to evaluate pay and really think about compensation consistency when hiring new talent or giving out raises or promotions,” said Jessica Miller-Merrell, VP of talent strategies at Advanced Group and founder of Blogging4Jobs.
As it takes a village to raise a child, it takes multiple departments within a corporation to agree to pay its people more money.
“The best thing that any recruiter or hiring manager can do is to work with their leadership and make sure that they have a consistent methodology for calculating salary and benefits for each person they are offering a position,” said Tanya (Oziel) Bourque CEO and founder at OppCount and OpExpert.
Without this level of internal transparency, it is impossible to identify whether there is a gender wage gap within your company.
“The methodology should be based on something that is measurable,” continued Tanya. “For example, the last company I worked for had a calculator that based salary on skill, role, location, education, and years of experience. I currently own a staffing agency and I work with managers all the time on this issue.”
So in your next hiring decision and compensation negotiation, think about how women earn less than men in most occupations – and ask yourself if you’ve gone through the necessary salary benchmarking processes before making your offer.