Vigilant Eye on Gender Pay Gap

The first step is admitting you have a problem, but it’s another thing to actually address it.

Take the gender wage gap, for example. Women continue to make less than men for the same work, but a growing number of companies are quietly acknowledging that resolving the issue will require more effort than they’ve put forth so far. That means enlisting special teams to analyze whether their women are paid on par with equivalent men, job by job, then devising plans to fill in any gaps.

A majority of large companies in North America say they have dedicated teams running these pay equity analyses, but only 46 percent of them think their approach is statistically robust. Even fewer say they have a formal process to fix any inequities, according to a recent report by Mercer, the consultant, which examined 164 (mostly large) companies in 28 countries, employing more than 680,000 women.

Employers need to keep several data points on their workers to run the sophisticated assessments needed to tease out gender bias, academics said, and the depth of employers’ human resources systems vary. But several companies — from diaper purveyors to military contractors who have them in place — said these systems had also helped them begin to tackle another related challenge: Why are so few women at the top of the organizations (or even the top of the middle)?

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