Why the Tech & Marketing Industries Should Pioneer the Equal Pay Movement
The tech and marketing industries have been pioneers for advancing the workplace, from better benefits and diversity advancement, to creating technologies that change the way we work. The real question is, can these industries be the driving force for equal pay for women as well?
We Can’t Ignore The Data
Women, on average, earn 74 cents for every dollar that their male peers receive, yet the wage gap still isn’t received as common knowledge. Stories of women’s experiences can be found across the internet — and they are vast and real. I, myself, have directly managed men who were less experienced and in lower positions than me, yet they were paid drastically more.
But that was never the point. The point is, with or without awareness from employers, the issue is real. In fact, The Institute for Women’s Policy Research estimates that, if trends continue, women won’t earn equal pay until 2059.
Why Women Make Less
Understanding the wage gap is complex. While there are many theories as to why the issue still remains, including the argument that women are less apt to negotiate starting salaries, there’s a reason the issue still exists.
In a recent interview I had with Rick Devine, CEO of TalentSky who famously introduced Tim Cook to Steve Jobs, I gained valuable insight on the root of the issue. “The biggest imperative is to solve for a legacy mindset that influences (and allows for) pay disparity,” said Devine. “Many still rely on antiquated thinking that dictates that a woman isn’t capable of doing the same things as a man—and this is particularly true in industries that are male-dominated, like technology.”
But some marketing and technology companies are making a change, and their efforts are remarkable.
Progress And Change
Marc Benioff, CEO of Salesforce, called for an audit of his employees’ salaries to evaluate if there was equal pay for women. After finding there was a disparity, he took it upon himself to fix it. At Expedia, through ongoing analysis, transparency and a continued effort to ensure equal pay, every dollar a woman now earns in the company is equal to that of their male counterparts.
And these companies aren’t alone. Many companies have made it a priority to fix the wage gap as well:
Visa’s Global CMO Lynne Biggar mandated that all of Visa’s agency partners put forth one female director as part of any pitch. Visa is also one of the first brands to take the #freethebid pledge.
TransLoc, a tech company that works with Uber, created an indexed, market-base price tag to each role that they stick to to ensure equality.
Ellevest‘s CEO Sallie Krawcheck made it her mission to help women invest their money in order to close the gender gap.
The Shatter Network‘s CEO Catherine Merrit created a platform to empower women and ensure every woman has a mentor to advocate for her and help develop her career.
Progress for equal pay may be slow, but these companies and organizations are inspiring change that we can learn from.
Audit Your Company
As leaders in the marketing and tech space, our industries have always had the ability to invoke change. Whether it’s new technology, new digital realms to tinker in, or finding creative ways to get things done — change, movement and creativity are our specialties. We breed progress. And as SEO and marketing agencies boom for startups, ecommerce, and SaaS - we have the jobs.
Jump into Quickbooks and do an audit of your own company. Pull out titles, salaries and names, and replace every employee’s name with simply “male” or “female.” Then sort through the data. If you find a discrepancy, I urge you to be a part of the change. Put a system in place to start paying employees equally, without bias. Work with your HR department or find a mentor who has made the switch themselves. Whatever you do, do something.
If not for our daughters, sisters and wives, we must make progress for all the women who are coders, technical analysts, strategists, executives, and hundreds of other positions that are making our businesses stronger. It’s our time to evaluate our companies and see where we stand.
As ThoughtWorks CTO Rebecca Parsons said on hiring women in tech, we must pay women equally because ”It’s simply the right thing to do.”
This article was originally published via Forbes.