Did you know that the pay gap in the United States results in over $1 million in lost income for Latinas and Native American women over the course of a career? This can vary widely by state. A Latina in California would lose $1,787,640 over a 40-year career, or would have to work until she is 116 years old to earn what a White man earned by the time he is 60 years old.
These types of pay disparities exist across marginalized communities, and are the reason we need to prioritize pay equity in 2021
What is pay equity? Pay equity is the discipline of eliminating pay disparities based on gender, race, and other criteria.
This goes beyond pay equality, or equal pay for equal work, to address opportunity gaps and occupational segregation. For example, 73 percent of office and administrative support professionals are women, while only 29 percent of chief executives are women. Similarly, only 3 percent of web developers are Black, while 79 percent are white. Higher-level positions and in-demand skills naturally pay more, but people from marginalized groups tend to be left out of those roles.
These pay equity statistics will help illustrate the state of wage disparities today, and shed some light on what can be done to fix them.
This can vary by occupation or industry. For example, women in the legal profession earn 64 cents for every dollar earned by men, and women in the Finance and Insurance industry earn 76 cents for every dollar earned by men.
It also varies by race and ethnicity:
Black men see a 13 percent uncontrolled pay gap compared to White men, and a 2 percent controlled pay gap when adjusted to account for similar jobs and qualifications.
Black men hold higher rates of individual contributor roles than White men (63 percent and 56 percent respectively), and lower rates of leadership roles. For example, only 3 percent of Black men are in executive-level roles, compared with 6 percent of White men, and Black executives earn 79 cents for every dollar a White executive earns.
Men from other marginalized groups fare somewhat better, but still face troubling pay inequities:
LQBTQ+ women see a 10 percent wage gap compared to non-LGBTQ+ men, and LGBTQ+ men see a 4 percent wage gap. This wage gap is not well studied overall. Many from this community keep this part of their identities private to avoid workplace discrimination, which has included harassment and termination.
It should be noted, however, that discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or transgender status has been ruled illegal under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act.
Full-time, year-round workers with a disability earn 13 percent less than those without a disability. However, people with disabilities are less likely to work full-time, year round, in nearly every occupation. This widens the pay gap further, wherein people with disabilities earn 66 cents to every dollar those with no disability earn.
Women with disabilities fare much worse, earning just 80 cents when compared to men with disabilities.
Pay equity means more than salary, and data shows wider discrepancies may occur when companies offer stock grants to employees.
Going beyond cash compensation, the pay gap widens further in companies that offer stock grants to employees. Women own just 47 cents in equity for every dollar men own. While women represent 35 percent of equity holders, they only own 23 percent of the equity.
Black and Latinx employees make up a very small proportion of employee stakeholders, and hold a disproportionately low percentage of total equity wealth.
Working mothers earn 31 percent less than working fathers, resulting in an average loss of $18,000 annually. This differs widely by race and ethnicity.
For every dollar paid to White, non-Hispanic fathers:
The motherhood wage gap also varies by state. In Louisiana, for example, mothers are paid 59 cents for every dollar paid to fathers, resulting in a loss of more than $23,000 annually. And in the District of Columbia, Black mothers lose about $85,000 and Latina mothers lose more than $98,000 annually compared to White, non-Hispanic fathers.
Two-thirds of compensation professionals said pay equity was “very important” or “somewhat important” at their organizations. Top performing organizations, and large organizations, were more likely to say that pay equity was very important.
But lip service isn’t enough. Employees and candidates want to know that you’re willing to take action to ensure pay equity.
Almost half of compensation professionals plan to conduct a pay equity analysis in 2021, compared to just 38 percent who said the same last year. This varies widely by company size. While 74 percent of large organizations plan to conduct an analysis, most of them including both a gender and racial analysis, only 26 percent of small companies say the same.
When pay equity is an ongoing focus, adjustments can be fewer and further in between. Even if necessary adjustments are larger than anticipated, you can make a plan to close the gap over several cycles. Don’t let budget concerns dissuade you from this important work.
Pay equity is a hot topic for 2021, with more organizations striving to understand and address internal pay disparities. There’s much work to be done, but also much progress already made.
Women earned just 59 cents for every dollar a man earned in 1963, compared to 82 cents now. The World Economic Forum suggests that the gender inequality gap will not close in the United States for another 208 years, at the current rate of change.
We have to do better.