While the issue of pay disparity between men and women is fully recognized, the gender pay gap is still very much alive and kicking as an issue. Gender pay charts published by Business Insider revealed that in 2018, the average, full-time female worker made just 81.6 cents for every dollar that was earned by her male counterpart. Add in location, race, and education, it’s not so much a small divide, but more of a chasm. In this blog, we share some of the most recent data from Canada that substantiates the gender pay gap. We also provide insight on how businesses can start filling the void through technology and data insight.
What is the Gender Pay Gap?
In simple terms, it’s when one gender is paid and rewarded more than another for doing the same job and under the same conditions. The pay gap can be measured by looking at annual salaries, hourly pay, or contract rates. According to the Pay Equity Commission of Ontario, some of the various (and often outdated) factors contributing to this disparity include:
- Younger women take time out to care for young children, which sets them back on the advancement and promotion pathway. This is sometimes called the “motherhood penalty”.
- Occupational segregation is real, with women accepting lower-paying jobs in childcare, hospitality, and clerical work which are perceived as having less value than other roles. How do organizations get away with this if actual pay discrimination is illegal? Answer: You categorize this as “women’s work” and therefore there is no equivalent male salary to use in comparison.
- Historically, women were not always offered or encouraged to follow higher education, and this would of course affect salary and job opportunities.
- Discrimination or “unconscious bias” in the recruitment, promotion, and reward schemes of their workplace.
While according to the World Economic Forum’s Gender Gap Report 2017¹, Canada ranked a respectable 16th for parity out of 144 countries, that still means 15 nations are making swifter progress.
The Current State of the Gender Pay Gap
We’re now deep into the 21st Century in what is often presumed to be the age of diversity, equality, and meritocracy, and much of that historic reasoning for the pay gap may seem to be a thing of the past. Women are indeed taking their seats in the boardroom and filling highly skilled positions in most sectors, so to even suggest a female would be a risky hire because she may want to raise a family would be grounds for calling out sexist behavior.
The most recent data and reporting on the gender pay gap identifies where the most prominent divides are.
We’ve already confirmed that rather shocking “81 cents to the dollar” median figure, but in a more detailed report, PayScale. Com revealed more – some of which is better news, but not perfect. When looking at men and women doing similar roles in the same environmental conditions, that gap is narrowed to 98 cents. That’s still two cents below with no reasonable explanation. In addition, the same report showed the closing of the gender pay gap has slowed down to a fraction of one percent over recent years, which suggests it’ll be some time before we close that remaining two percent shortfall.
It’s also worth determining what that two cents shortfall looks like when adjusted to an annual salary. According to an Ontario Government report, a woman with equal experience and demographic to a man could earn around C$7,200 less per annum.
In the state of Ontario, this continuing inequity is marked in a unique way. Equal Pay Day started in 2014 to draw attention to the gender wage gap. But unlike other annual events, this generally moves forward each year according to how long it would for a woman to work and make up a difference, which using current figures, would add around three and half months to this yearly event. When faced with this mixed bag of progress, what measures are underway to finally even out the playing field?
Using Technology to End the Gender Wage Gap
While one critical, ongoing aspect of the gender wage gap solution lies in establishing clearer routes for women from all backgrounds to enter top-tier careers via STEM courses (Science, Technology, Engineering, Maths), there is something more immediate going on right now in some forward-thinking organizations. Varicent – who are fully committed to being an equal and diverse business – offers a free Gender Pay app that provides a full overview of what men and women are paid in your organization. Sitting alongside the equally useful Diversity app, the Symon.AI platform uses augmented intelligence insight and transparency to break down your organization by role, gender, and background, so any signs of an unfair pay discrepancy can be fully addressed and fixed. This proactive approach to mending the gender wage gap will attract those job candidates that are aware and excited to be part of a genuinely diverse and equal meritocracy.
We’ll leave you with one last statistic that proves the problem runs deeper than money alone. A Pew Research Center survey in 2017 found that 42 percent of women admitted having experienced gender discrimination in the workplace compared to 20 percent of men.
Make sure your business is part of the permanent change to end the gender wage gap by downloading Varicent’s app today.