“We did find we had a pay gap; comparing apples to apples, when you dig down, role-to-role, we did find a few instances where we made some corrections"
A Vancouver tech company is looking to eliminate the gender wage gap by encouraging employers to “take a pledge” to prioritize pay equity.
The pledge is a commitment to complete a gender pay parity analysis and outline a plan of action to address what you find, says Unbounce.
“This pledge is open to all companies — including those that have already started the process, those that have achieved pay parity and are committed to continual assessment, and those that don’t know where to begin. Part of the process is figuring out a timeline and goals that make sense for your business, and by pledging you’ll receive support to take the first step.”
The Vancouver-based tech firm recently analyzed its own organization for a pay gap, and the entire process was systematically documented. A host of strategic advisory partners including Shopify, Minerva BC and The Forum for Women Entrepreneurs were brought together to help create a comprehensive toolkit which other leaders could use as a step-by-step guide.
The free toolkit can be downloaded at www.unbounce.com/pay-up-for-progress, and it’s “a step-by-step instruction written from the lens of an HR professional, by me,” according to Leslie Collin, vice-president of people culture at Unbounce in Vancouver.
But the idea didn’t take hold until Unbounce had fixed its own gap.
“A lot of companies assume that they have no problems with their pay gap and we made the same assumption but we wanted facts because you don’t actually know until you check your data,” she says.
“We did actually find we had a pay gap: it wasn’t large but comparing apples to apples, when you dig down, role-to-role, we did find a few instances where we made some corrections and we did that immediately.”
The toolkit begins is extremely comprehensive and it takes you through many steps,” says Collin, “all the way from the initial, ‘I think this is a good idea’ to how to do it, how to get buy-in and consider pitching this as a priority for your leadership team and all the way down to a very complex regression analysis of gender pay parity at your organization.”
The benefits to a business that has gender pay equity are great, she says, and not because it’s the morally correct thing to do.
“When companies make it a priority — based on some research we’ve done — they’re 19 per cent more likely to exceed industry average levels of productivity and 54 per cent more likely to exceed industry average turnover benchmark.”
Employee recruitment and retention will become that much stronger, says Collin.
“Businesses who value this type of work end up with less turnover and higher productivity. Being able to really stand by initiatives and actions that a company is taking towards pay parity will encourage more top candidates to choose an organization that is prioritizing this type of work, not just bottom-line, revenue success.”
The timing is right to launch the initiative, she says.
“The impact of COVID is really widening gender inequalities and women are unfortunately a little bit more vulnerable to the economic effects of a pandemic due to the increased likelihood to be working in service industries,” says Collin.
“As we look to stabilization and economic recovery through COVID and stabilizing of businesses, now is a fantastic opportunity to take that pledge.”
A recent report by RBC finds that women have been hardest hit economically by the pandemic.
Another study also shows that when companies ask about how much candidates were paid in the past, this could create pay gaps.