The Gender Pay Gap
For some time now I’ve been accumulating anonymous salary data from various companies I’ve worked with.
It’s one of the ‘hidden’ factors in culture and engagement – and although conventional wisdom dictates that employees do not compare salaries, the reality is somewhat different; as our society and workforce get’s closer and more open, financial remuneration gets discussed more than you think.
So typically when I work with clients who have a good understanding of their culture already but want to learn more, we look at promotion and career progression patterns, management span, salary, gender, ethnicity, performance management, quota achievement and a number of other ‘sensitive’ areas.
Then we can overlay that to current understanding of different teams and functions in various offices – not only to build stronger cultures and better employee engagement, but also to provide hard metrics on the benefits.
As I’ve accumulated the data, certain patterns have started to reveal themselves – and one of them is that of gender pay gap. I’ve looked at multiple pieces of research on this, and I’ve found the reality (certainly within the companies I’m working with) is more exaggerated that I previously believed.
I realise that the infographic below is going to shock. Good. It should. But I’d ask you do to a couple of things before you open it.
1. Don’t try and find reasons why it shouldn’t be so – it is. These are facts, and even when I doubted them myself, I managed to go back through the data and verify them.
2. I’ve been working with data for over 18 years – there are indeed “Lies, damned lies and statistics” – and I’ve endeavoured to remove the ‘spin’ from the charts – but that shouldn’t detract from the fact that there is clearly a huge problem with gender pay gaps in the global workforce.
3. Don’t get hung up on the “did you compare like for like” argument. If you want to see that, skip to the bottom. The story is the same, just softened slightly – as no two people are alike it is impossible to do a perfect comparison, but in lower level sales, consulting and finance roles there is consistency that can be used.
Again, I must stress that paying employees to improve culture and engagement will never work. In my last blog I pointed out ….
“Most people join companies for the job, and the salary – but they stay there because of the culture. Deep down, most of us want to be part of a group that have the same belief systems and passions – and financial rewards (whilst being necessary), don’t actually make us either loyal or happy in the long term”
However – what this data illustrates is that there is an endemic lack of fairness in many companies, which will feed the more negative aspects of cultural transformation and act as a barrier to employee engagement.
One final note – the companies who kindly provided this data are ALL being proactive in their approaches to addressing the problem. There is no quick fix, and there’s a lot of historical influences that have contributed to the current situation – you should assume that if your company has the same kind of pay discrepancies, then they are currently fixing the problem.