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Are You Hiding the Reality Behind Your Pay Practices?


It’s no secret to those of us following trends in inclusion and inequality that women continue to make significantly less money than men while doing, basically, the same jobs. It may come as a surprise, then, that according to a recent survey, most employees don’t believe there’s a gender gap in their own workplaces.

According to a survey by Glassdoor, reported in the Chicago Tribune, 70 percent of U.S. employees don’t believe there’s a pay gap at their places of employment. Perhaps unsurprisingly — and somewhat ironically — whether or not you see a pay gap at work depends to some extent on your gender: 60 percent of women believe men and women are paid equally where they work, compared to 78 percent of men.

The article pointed out that there is often little transparency behind salaries, which can help perpetuate the gender pay gap. In fact, many company’s contractual provisions prevent employees from disclosing their salaries to co-workers. However, the Chicago Tribune cites social media company Buffer as an example of an organization bucking the trend: “Some companies already disclose employee salaries to foster trust — see the radical transparency at (Buffer), which has gone public with its salary formula and the thinking behind it plus the salaries of individual employees online for the world to see.”

Given the discomfort among many with discussing their pay or having others know what they make, Buffer’s approach may seem extreme; however, it very well may signal a growing trend. Currently, roughly a dozen states have laws prohibiting retaliation against employees who disclose their pay to co-workers. And in early 2016, on the seventh anniversary of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which protects against wage discrimination, President Obama announced a proposal that would require companies employing at least 100 employees to disclose the pay of their employees, broken down by race, gender and ethnicity.

Perhaps the growing number of employees dismissive of the gender pay gap at their companies is a sign of growing wage equality — or perhaps not. Either way, growing trends toward wage transparency should shed greater light on the issue.

Are you ready to be transparent about the pay practices in your organization?

If not, you may want to spend some time considering why not. 

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