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Solving Gender Pay Gap: Half of Companies Reviewing Compensation Plans

Across the business and private sectors, discussions about sexual harassment and discrimination remain front and center. Amid the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements, women and some men are sharing personal stories to drive change.

Even if companies provide a safe work environment free from harassment, their work certainly is not done. The pay gap issue must also be solved.

Across industries, on average, women in the United States earn 80 cents for every dollar that men earn, according to the Institute for Women's Policy Research. Many people who don't believe in the pay gap complain that research can be skewed because women are choosing to work in lower-paying jobs and prioritize family over career goals. But research defenders point to data points focused on pay gaps between women and men who have the same experience and hold equal positions in terms of title and responsibility.

Now, companies seem to be stepping up to take a closer look at the situation. In a recent survey of 150 human resources executives conducted by global outplacement and executive coaching firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc., almost half reported their companies were currently reviewing their compensation policies to guarantee pay parity. So far, 28 percent of the respondents claimed they were already paying men and women equally for the same jobs.

Salary Transparency: Solving the Pay Gap?

One potential solution involves salary transparency. When employees have access to exactly what their coworkers are paid, it shows that the company is working hard to ensure everyone is paid fairly. However, only 3 percent of companies surveyed by Challenger in January 2018 execute salary transparency. Ninety percent of companies do not implement any kind of salary transparency, while 7 percent provide salary information on a need-to-know basis.

Many companies are reluctant to offer salary transparency, especially at the top levels. Among the challenges: Compensation figures without deeper context can be misleading. And that proper context may require deeper information like performance reviews, previous experience, and education. Sharing all that information, at best, could be overwhelming for HR and managers. And at worse, it could trigger privacy issues and more.

Additional Pay Parity Suggestions

In order to ensure pay parity, for yourself and for your employees, Challenger had a few more suggestions.

First, for employees: Make sure you do your research on what you should be paid for your position or potential position within a company. The report suggests checking Glassdoor or PayScale to compare companies in the same industry. The company also recommends negotiating your salary. Often you will not be paid more money if you do not ask for it. Just make sure you are equipped with information to reinforce your point. Managers should also be aware of the salaries of those that report to them. If they notice a pay gap, it is their responsibility to speak up and try to rectify the situation.

For employers, creating a culture of equality is essential to making sure that all employees are paid fairly. While many companies are not on board with salary transparency, you can still take steps to  foster a healthy work environment. This culture should include listening to employee suggestions, and following up when inequalities are brought to the attention of upper management.

Finally, many companies are looking for outside help to help combat this problem. Among the steps: 31 percent of the respondents to the survey suggested engaging outside counsel to audit compensation structures would help eliminate the pay gap or even the appearance of inequalities in the workplace.

You can view the survey results from the company's website.