Women have been getting paid less than men for as long as women have been doing paid work at all. And the fight for equal pay has been going on for just as long. So why does the pay gap persist?
It’s a complex issue, which is part of the reason it’s so hard to solve and tricky for many people to understand. On the latest episode of The New Way We Work, I spoke to Maria Colacurcio, the CEO of Syndio, an HR Analytics company focused on promoting fairness in the workplace. She broke down the difference between pay gap and pay equity.
The pay gap, she explained, is a comparison of earning between two groups (usually men and women but there’s also a notable gap between Black women and white women, for instance). The gap is bigger because men tend to be in higher paying or higher level jobs than women.
Pay equity compares groups in similar jobs. Basically: How are people being paid that are doing similar work? That’s the fight for equal pay for equal work.
The issue of unequal pay gets complicated because not only are jobs that are traditionally held by men higher paying, but even when men and women are in the same roles we tend to pay groups of men more than women. For example in nursing, which is a predominantly female field, male nurses tend to make on average about $6,000 more per year than female nurses. And when women enter more lucrative paying fields, the pay for that profession drops.
There are a lot of other factors that further complicate the issue on unequal pay, including bias in negotiation, and the mommy tax. And the bad news is that the pandemic has reversed over 25 years of progress toward more gender equity, by some estimates.
Colacurcio breaks down how to address each of these issues along with solutions that business can put into action to not only address the pay gap and pay equity, but also build a culture of trust.
Listen to the full episode here: