The companies of Silicon Valley tout being some of the most progressive and forward-thinking organizations in the world. However, when it comes to the gender pay gap, it might be all lip service.
According to Inc., Salesforce, Microsoft, Apple, Facebook, and Google are among the Silicon Valley companies that say they have no gap. Yet the recent U.S. Department of Labor investigation into Google regarding extreme gender pay discrimination has many people questioning if there's any truth behind those common claims.
After all, what happens behind closed doors is typically out of the public eye. When we open those doors, what do we see?
The gender pay gap is a problem nationwide. On average, women in the United States are paid 20 percent less than men. As a result, the average woman misses out on $530,000 over the course of her career, according to LeanIn.org, and this gender pay gap is even wider in higher-paying industries and roles.
"But that's not happening at my company." "I would never work for an organization that did that!" "It's simply not happening where I'm from."
It's comments like these that keep us all from closing the pay gap. Many times gaps and discrimination are hidden, and it takes a keen eye and proactive approach to make corrections today and moving forward.
So what can you do to ensure that the gender pay gap isn't an issue at your company? Start by taking a few basic steps.
Step 1: Conduct an internal audit
Take time to see how comparable positions are paid internally. Are all parties with equal experience and equal responsibility paid equally? If not, try to correct the problems. You'll be better offering salary increases proactively than having female employees find out and quit. The results can be devastating for your employment brand.
Step 2: Conduct an external audit
It's important to know what's happening in your industry and region, so conducting an external audit to investigate what other companies are paying employees in similar roles can be highly valuable. You'll likely need to hire an audit company or subscribe to a data service, but it's a worthwhile investment to get such revealing insight.
Step 3: Change mindsets in the future
Pay is only one part of the problem. Opportunity is another. Once you are paying everyone fairly, you also need to ensure that each employee is considered equally for future promotions and advancement opportunities. You may need to shift hiring and evaluation processes to achieve these goals. You also might need to consider executive coaching to ensure leadership has the right training.
Step 4: Continuously evaluate
It's not enough to evaluate the situation just once. You need to consistently review salary across gender and race to ensure that fair pay is at the heart of your company's core values. If it was a "fix it once and done" problem, it wouldn't be so widespread. At the very least, review once a year.
The pay gap persists, but you can be a part of the solution. Take action today to take control of the future.