Closing the Gender Pay Gap

Close the Gender Pay Gap: Promote Compensation Equality

On April 12, 2022 Canada will mark Equal Pay Day – a day dedicated to raising awareness of the gender pay gap.

The World Economic Forum predicts the gender gap won’t close entirely until 2186. In our opinion that’s too long to wait, and as leaders, we can do better! As an individual employer, there are ways you can make sure it doesn’t take your organization well over a century (!) to reach gender pay parity.

Developing and implementing a compensation strategy based on best practices can help ensure your employees are paid at a level that is in line with your organization’s compensation philosophy and is equitable, regardless of gender. To do that, it’s important to have solid justification for what you pay your employees; with established ranges your organization feels confident about, you can help leave gender bias out of the compensation equation.

While you develop a compensation strategy that helps eliminate the gender pay gap, there are two key aspects to keep in mind.

1. Launch your compensation philosophy. To take the mystery out of your organization’s compensation stance, you need to establish and articulate your compensation philosophy. Fair pay starts with equity, transparency, consistency, knowing where you stand in the market place, and adhering to your philosophy consistently. Know where you want to fall in terms of market levels, and if you want to sit below, match or sit above market. This will depend on many factors, including your industry and the current labour market in your region.

2. Be willing to do your homework. Once you know where you want to stand in the marketplace, and what kind of compensation philosophy you want to put into action, you need to do some digging to establish a range for each position. Paying everyone fairly means having established ranges backed by solid methodology. You can do the legwork yourself or call in some pros to give you a hand with the research—either way, conducting a compensation survey is the best way to develop appropriate ranges and know if you’re paying your employees the right amount based on compensation typically paid for similar positions.

As you embark on a compensation survey adventure, there are some important questions to ask:

Am I comparing apples to apples? To gather relevant and valid compensation data, comparing jobs that are similar in scope, within similar organizations and industries, is key. Hint: Look at more than just the job titles, and don’t make assumptions—break down the job descriptions to make sure you’re comparing what you think you’re comparing.

What’s the local labour market scene? Savvy managers know who they’re competing for talent against, and keep their ear to the ground when it comes to labour supply and demand. Considering the local market is key when you’re analyzing salary, as compensation for the same position can vary widely depending on the geographical region and the current state of the labour market. If a certain position is in high demand with low supply, you may need to consider paying a bit more than mid-market to attract and retain the best talent.

What could the total rewards look like? Establishing and implementing a compensation strategy entails more than looking only at base salary. That’s only part of the equation. “Total rewards” is a term that describes all components of the compensation package, including all those other benefits and extras you can offer to employees that add value and can be used to attract, retain, and engage employees. Know the dollar value of what you already offer employees in terms of total rewards, and identify where you could continue to add value to remain competitive by offering the kind of perks that top talent is looking for.

Your Engaged Assignment: When was the last time you took a good look at your organization’s salary ranges? Do you know if your total rewards package is on par with the competition’s? If you’re not sure you’re paying everyone on your team appropriately and equitably, and closing that gender gap, now’s the ideal time to break out the spreadsheets and do some compensation analysis!

Not as excited by spreadsheets as we are? As always, we’re here to help!