Posted by eireland 10 months, 3 weeks ago

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Our client Athena, a San Diego-based nonprofit organization championing women in STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics), recently led a gender pay equity discussion called “Data vs. Detractors: What’s Really Driving the Gender Pay Gap?” as part of its quarterly Signature Series. I know this blog is typically reserved for marketing, but I was sitting in the room wishing more people could be listening to this lively conversation on a topic SO relevant to both genders. 

The industry thought leaders focused on the timely and persistent issue of equity and the new California law dealing with equalizing compensation. I was blown away by this power panel moderated by Phil Blair, Executive Officer of Manpower San Diego.

The panelists included:

  • Carrie Sawyer, Inclusion and Diversity lead at Intel
  • Jen Rubin, JD, Partner and legal compensation expert at Mintz Levin
  • Lauren Krase, head of compensation at Mitchell International
  • Marika Lemmons, compensation analyst at ESET

In addition to discussing tips for corporations to address gender pay equity and the risk of not complying with the new California pay parity law - the audience walked away with some very actionable ideas for those wondering if they are being paid fairly and what to do if the answer is no. 

Here are a few takeaways: 

  • Gender pay equity is a social issue, not a pay issue. 
  • Responsible leaders should foster equal pay not just because it's the right thing to do, but because it's also a business advantage to pay your women as much as your men to develop diversity of thought/tackle the tough problems. 
  • When asked about salary when interviewing for a job don't commit, especially because people, especially women, tend to undervalue themselves. A different approach may be to simply say "I want to be paid competitively." 
  • Salary in an initial job offer is often what employers feel they can "get you for" so the advice for everyone is ASK FOR MORE because it's probably available. 
  • While new gender pay equality laws are there to help us, in reality it's our own responsibility to drive them and make closing the gap happen.  
  • In private industry, shareholders and boards of directors need to hold management accountable for implementing changes. When you have accountability there will be change. 
  • Start young by empowering your children to negotiate and never settle for less. 

Marika Lemmons from ESET shared a great example of what local leaders are doing to promote pay equity from her company. ESET's CEO, Andrew Lee, was reviewing the pay for all their vice presidents and noticed a huge gap between the VP of human resources, who happened to be the only female at that level, and some of the other VP positions such as IT and Business Systems. The rest of the men were all on the same average. He fixed the disparity by flat lining everyone, bringing them ALL up to make the same given their similar responsibilities.

Kudos to Andrew Lee from ESET and to Athena for uplifting this dialogue! 

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