Why Your Company Has a Gender Pay Gap, Even if it Claims Otherwise

As long as we continue to devalue caregivers, the pay gap will endure

Kerala Taylor

--

Photo by StockRocket/Getty Images

A CEO I know recently proclaimed on LinkedIn that at his company, “there is no gender wage gap.”

He went on to outline the process his company used to close the gap, which is very similar to the process we’ve followed at my own company. The intention is to ensure that no man on staff makes a higher salary than a female coworker with comparable skills and industry experience.

If this is how we define the gender pay gap, my company can also confidently proclaim that we don’t have one. That’s because we set our salaries according to market value and publish salary ranges in our job postings. We’re not going to go above this range just because someone asks, and we’re not going to go below it just because someone doesn’t ask.

Each year, we reassess all team members’ job descriptions, research the current market value, which can fluctuate year to year, and make adjustments accordingly. If the market value dips, we’re not going to give a team member a pay cut — that would feel crummy! But if it increases for a specific role, we’ll look at adjusting the salary accordingly so that each team member is as close to 50% of the market value as possible.

My company is a worker-owned cooperative, and 10 of our 17 staff members, including me, are co-owners. All co-owners, over 50% of the company, know exactly how much everyone else makes. Over 50% of the company is involved in setting and approving annual raises and salary adjustments. While I hope to explore full salary transparency in the coming years, even now, it would be hard for us to get away with a gender pay gap even if we tried.

So, should we all give ourselves big pats on the back and congratulate one another? Box, checked. Problem, solved. All in a day’s work.

Unfortunately, no. Because here’s the thing: We still have a gender pay gap. The aforementioned CEO’s company still has a gender pay gap. Not because any woman on either of our teams is making less than a man with comparable skills and industry experience. It’s because the “market value” we use to inform our pay scales is far from the objective…

--

--

Kerala Taylor

Award-winning writer. Interrupting notions of what it means to be a mother, woman, worker, and wife. Subscribe: https://keralataylor.substack.com