The pace of equalizing pay has been frustratingly slow, but companies are making moves to increase efforts. Holly Copeland, Senior Director, Corporate Social Responsibility, Sustainability & Impact at Horizon Therapeutics, explained how her company is working to ensure that the infrastructure within the organization supports pay equity. It is crucial to find the baseline and have processes in place to move forward.
Maria Colacurcio, CEO of Syndio, explained that starting pay is the biggest roadblock to pay equity, as that inequity compounds over time. She described how a job’s value should exist independently of a person’s experience and engage parental benefits without regard to gender. Companies have a responsibility to mend the gaps. For Michael Blake, Founder & CEO of Atlas Strategy Group, companies have a responsibility to pay employees what they’re worth. Bringing equity and justice to scale can be accomplished by business ownership and a focus on entrepreneurs of color and women.
From there, Julie Hyman, Anchor at Yahoo Finance, directed the conversation toward the differing roles of private enterprise and government. Blake suggested that through regulation, governments can drive change on a larger scale if they approach this change with a long-term lens rather than an election-cycle focus. Copeland expressed surprise that pay equity is still unresolved: it’s an ethical issue and businesses must move proactively to understand and address the underlying issues.
There is a strong business case to be made for a focus on pay equity. Colacurcio described how employees are holding their CEOs to account, and Blake agreed that businesses should see their team members as investments and not charity. There is a true business incentive for companies to demonstrate that they value their employees.
Let’s change things at scale through policy and regulation while, simultaneously, the private sector can demonstrate the best practices that can help you when it comes to access to capital and actual implementation.
Building in these systems, these checks and balances, is what you can do as any entity—not just a business but a non-profit, any organization, to make sure you’re staying true to the commitment and that you have it for the long term.
I think of the issue of parenthood as one of the contributing factors to the persistent pay gap.
The single most significant factor in any pay equity analysis is starting pay. Once you’ve done that, how do you stay on top of it over time, as people are hired, during merit cycles, and as you’re looking at proposed bonus pay. There are all these micro decisions that are laden with discretion.