Equal Pay Day: The State of the Gender Wage Gap
Today is Equal Pay Day.
Women who work full-time, year round in the United States earn 84 cents for every dollar men earn. This means we had to work all of last year, plus two and a half months into 2023, to earn what men earned in 2022 alone. When we look at all earners, including part-time and seasonal workers, women earn just 77 cents for every dollar earned by men.
We clearly still have a long way to go.
All 2023 Equal Pay Days
While women's Equal Pay Day is March 14, the gender wage gap varies by race and ethnicity. Equal Pay Today shares each community’s Equal Pay Day:
- Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) Women’s Equal Pay Day is April 5. AANHPI women working full-time, year-round earn 92 cents for every dollar paid to white, non-Hispanic men. When we include part-time and seasonal workers, that drops to 80 cents.
- LGBTQIA+ Equal Pay Awareness Day is June 15, but this isn’t based on a known wage gap. Instead, it’s meant to raise awareness around the lack of wage gap data for LGBTQIA+ communities. The Human Rights Campaign Foundation found that full-time LGBTQIA+ workers earn approximately 90 cents for every dollar earned by the average worker in the US.
- Moms Equal Pay Day is August 15. Moms working full-time, year-round earn 74 cents for every dollar fathers earn. This drops to 62 cents when we look at all earners — including those working part-time and seasonally.
- Black Women’s Equal Pay Day is July 27. Black women earn 67 cents compared to white, non-Hispanic men when working full-time, year-round and 64 cents when part-time and seasonal workers are included.
- Latina Equal Pay Day is October 5. Latina women working full-time, year-round earn 57 cents for every dollar earned by white, non-Hispanic men. The pay gap widens when we look at all workers, with Latinas earning 54 cents compared to their white, male counterparts.
- Native American Women’s Equal Pay Day is November 30. Native American women working full-time, year-round earn 57 cents for every dollar earned by white, non-Hispanic men. Including seasonal and part-time workers, this reduces to 51 cents.
5 ways to address the gender pay gap
There is certainly no shortage of ways we can tackle the wage gap to improve pay equity. Here are some ideas to help you get started:
1. Keep your compensation strategy up-to-date
A documented compensation strategy with job grades and corresponding salary bands can help you make more fair, competitive, and consistent offers and raises. But we've been experiencing rapid wage growth, and you may have bumped salaries above your current ranges to attract and retain talent. This may lead to wage gaps and salary compression. Revisit your compensation strategy and the data that goes into it once or twice a year to help you reach and maintain pay equity.
2. Don’t ask for salary history or salary expectations
Using a job candidate’s salary history to make pay decisions can perpetuate an existing wage gap and lead to pay discrimination. Following salary history bans, employers increased pay for job changers by about 5%. But women saw an 8% increase in pay, and Black employees saw a 13% increase. This is a strong indication that eliminating salary history questions can help close wage gaps.
Asking for a candidate’s salary expectations can also perpetuate wage gaps, as people in marginalized communities may undervalue themselves based on their own salary history. For example, Black women and Latinas in the technology industry request salaries that are 9% lower than what their white male counterparts request. This expectation gap closely aligns with their wage gap, as Black women in tech earn 92 cents for every dollar earned by white men and Latinas earn 93 cents.
3. Measure pay equity regularly
Even with the right strategy and intentions, wage gaps can still sneak up on you. In particular, pay equity issues happen when companies hire new employees, promote them into new roles, and give raises.
Measure pay equity once or twice a year to ensure your individual compensation decisions align with your strategy and values. Include cash, bonus, and stock and slice your data in different ways to look for pay gaps. For example, look at your organization's overall pay equity by gender, race, and intersectionality. Then look at each department, job level, and job function.
If you see pay gaps, take steps to correct them. Build fair pay adjustments and analysis into your regular compensation cycle process, and communicate changes with your team members so they understand the changes.
4. Diversify your recruitment funnel
Wage gaps can be partially attributed to an opportunity gap and occupational segregation. For example, women account for 48% of entry-level professionals, but lose representation at each job level. Only 40% of managers, 32% of vice presidents, and 26% of the c-suite are women, capping their earning potential. Women are also underrepresented in higher-paying roles and industries.
Diversify your recruitment funnel in every department and job level to help you hire more women where they're underrepresented. This includes your internal candidate pipeline. Mentor and sponsor women for promotions, and track your promotion rate by gender, race, and intersectionality so you can spot further opportunities for internal equity.
5. Introduce more pay transparency
Pay transparency is about communication. At a basic level, it means each of your employees understands why they earn what they earn, and how they can earn more. This practice often creates a two-way dialogue that holds your team accountable to following your compensation strategy and maintaining pay equity.
In some organizations, pay transparency means each employee knows the salary range for their job level. In others, it means everyone can see salary ranges for every job level. Find a level of pay transparency that makes sense at your organization. Then make sure that your managers and team members understand the information you decide to share about your compensation strategy.
Final thoughts on Equal Pay Day
Equal Pay Day is a time to reflect on the gender wage gap and consider where we can go from here. As it stands, women have to work 14.5 months to earn what men can earn in only 12 months. Native women will have needed to work all of last year and through the month of November of this year to earn the equivalent of what white, non-Hispanic men earned last year alone.
There’s still so much progress to be made, and your organization can make a difference in closing the gender pay gap once and for all.
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