Workplace Equity: We’re Working On It
#evolve Magazine
October 22, 2021

In the past year or so, I’ve written three articles on the gender pay gap, including this very issue of #evolve’s cover story, “The Path to Pay Equity.”

And each time I’ve sat down to write one of these pieces about pay equity, I can’t help but wonder why pieces about pay equity still have to be written at all, let alone with that type of frequency.

How is there still a gender pay gap? How were women paid, on average, just 84 cents for every dollar that men made in 2020?

With the aforementioned cover story, we sought to get answers to such questions. In fact, workplace equity — wage equity, gender equity, racial equity, for example — is the theme of this issue, where we’ll delve into what organizations can do to help us realize a truly equitable world of work.

In “A Numbers Game: Driving Diversity with Data,” for example, Julie Cook-Ramirez looks at how companies are measuring diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) initiatives to ensure they’re moving the needle when it comes to achieving their goal of a more inclusive, diverse and equitable workplace.

“It’s super important to track and measure and evaluate all things related to diversity, equity and inclusion,” Andrew Plumley, a board member at Washington, D.C.-based Equity in the Center, told Cook-Ramirez.

“If you’re not measuring and you’re not tracking differences over time, you won’t be able to see if you’re actually mitigating disparities, which is what this work is all about.”

It’s easy to feel discouraged when you see statistics on gender pay equity, or when looking at, say, the number of Black CEOs at Fortune 500 companies. (With Ken Frazier’s recent departure from Merck, there are now four.) But, generally speaking, there are reasons to think that we are making some progress, that companies are trying to mitigate the type of disparities that Plumley talks about.

“I think that most organizations understand and accept the need for pay equity, so we have a victory there,” Brad Hill, principal at Clearwater Human Capital, told #evolve in an interview for this issue’s cover story.

Understanding and accepting the need for pay equity is all fine and good. But are employers doing something about it? WorldatWork research suggests that some actually are.

Our recent study on pay equity found 45% of more than 200 companies saying they have taken action within the last 12 months to deal with compensation inequities within their organization — performing pay equity audits, making pay equity adjustments and developing remediation strategies, for instance. Close to 30% of respondents said they’re taking steps to correct imbalances regarding employee benefits.

Sure, those numbers could be higher. But hopefully the actions that companies are taking will lead to meaningful change. And it’s our hope that the content on the pages that follow helps bring about change within your organization.

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