In 1996, Equal Pay Day was designed by the U.S. National Committee on Pay Equity (NCPE) to raise awareness of the wage gap in our country. Even though the Equal Pay Law was signed in 1963 by President John F. Kennedy, progress in compensation equality has been slow in the half century since. Then, women were earning 59% of men’s wages; now, it’s only climbed to 80%.
Working in a remote job can increase the earning potential of women. GETTY
To commemorate one of many strategies that is trying to fuel parity, Owl Labs released an “Equal Pay for Equal Work (from Home)” report about how virtual jobs can affect the earning potential of America’s workforce. Due to the results-based productivity tracking methods of distributed teams, remote work is recognized as an effective tool in strengthening diversity and inclusion within a workforce, and hoped to be a resource against factors that contribute to the wage gap, like self-perception and management bias. But are these virtual strategies actually effective, or are they just theories? Now, thanks to this study, new data collected from a survey of over 2,000 professionals throughout the country reveals the truth.
The verdict? Owl Labs calculated that workers “who sometimes work remotely are 63% more likely to earn salaries of $100,000 or greater than those who never work remotely.” The claim is sound. Remote jobs are empowering minorities in our contemporary economy.
You may have thought the only benefit of working remotely was the ability to commute from the beach, but the results-based tracking models of distributed teams have a unique ability to shatter the glass ceiling because great output can produced by any worker, regardless of how old, extroverted, educated, charismatic or committed to a family a professional is. If you are able to consistently produce quality, innovative results, you will be a strong candidate for promotion.
However, as much as we may wish to see that virtual work is the magical solution for all our discriminatory complaints, it’s not. The study also unfortunately revealed that female managers that work in an office earn higher salaries than they would virtually, and are more optimistic about their career growth — suggesting that (for now) in-person dynamics are still a crucial factor in earning and development potential.
Karen Rubin, Vice President of Growth at Owl Labs, comments, “We found that among fully-remote workers in the U.S., men are 25% more likely to earn $100K than women. That’s a massive gender pay gap, but we unfortunately saw a similar pay gap between men and women who never work remotely, too. We also found that female managers who work remotely full-time are less likely to earn high salaries than their co-located female counterparts, but that same drop off in salary doesn’t happen for men. We don’t think that the virtual working environment is the cause of this disparity, but we think remote work reflects ongoing gender pay equality in this country because, even though men and women earn higher salaries working remotely than if they worked in an office, men are still benefiting from this trend more than women are.”
Even with all of the equalizing factors that virtual work provides, the gender pay gap still exists. This suggests that the best operational tactics that the modern business world has to offer to combat discrimination still won’t resolve the problem unless mindsets and processes are updated accordingly. “[The gender pay gap] stems from the disenfranchisement of women from decades and decades ago, and lingers because there are more women doing lower-paying work, stepping out of the workforce to raise children, and struggling to negotiate for higher salaries either because they don’t ask for enough, or are viewed negatively when they do. This is even more pronounced for LGBTQ+ women and women of color,” Rubin says.
So, if you’re interested in joining the fight against the gender pay gap in your organization, Converting to a remote-friendly infrastructure may help, but it won’t be enough. In order to ignite sustainable change, you will need to follow this comprehensive six step process to level up your ladies:
1. Conduct a Salary Analysis – Whether you’re an entrepreneur or an enterprise, take the time to review the salaries of your entire workforce to search for potential gender pay gaps and compare to national averages. If any discrepancies are discovered, form a change management team of (at least) your CEO, CFO and CHRO to update the numbers as soon as possible.
2. Standardize Salaries – Compensation calculation practices like salary history, head of household status, or self-socilited requests can reinforce gender pay inequality. Instead, rely on formulas that are based on objective criteria, such as location, experience and industry averages.
3. Automate Interviews – The human element doesn’t have to be completely eradicated from your talent acquisition funnel or annual performance reviews, but the use of AI screening tools, interview templates, anonymous profiles, diverse committees, unbiased promotion models and open interviews can all help minimize unconscious bias during the screening phases.
4. Write a Remote Work Policy – Like salary negotiations, the expectations of working offsite may subjectively be interpreted differently by one employee than by another. When outlining the guidelines for working remotely, set clear rules about accessibility, schedule, and environment that will ensure all virtual team members are connecting equally.
5. Provide Training – Match your thinking to your tactics by offering leadership training to every level of your workforce about how to be aware of unconscious bias and sexual discrimination, not only financially, but also in your team’s communication, content and processes as well.
6. Celebrate Balance – If your company allows schedule flexibility, champion all of the ways your workforce chooses to balance their personal lives with their work lives. Equally valuing medical appointments, vacations, family events, or personal hobbies will help eliminate the “motherhood penalty” and can help build a team culture of trust and transparency.
The path to successfully eliminating the pay gap is clear, but Rubin warns that it is also a steep climb. “Women starting out in their careers as individual contributors and middle managers won’t see meaningful progress on gender pay equality until we see that equality coming from the top: Female founders only raised 2.2% of VC dollars in 2018. Women represent only 5% of Fortune 500 CEOs. Only 22% of directors on company boards are women. What makes these stats so frustrating is VCs and boards and companies with female leaders earn greater returns on investment. Implicit and explicit bias against women in leadership is holding back women from the top of the business world to women just starting out, and it’s at a point where we can’t wait around for things to change on their own — because that will simply take too long without intervention in the form of laws like the one in California, and equality is too important.”
In the report, Owl Labs prompts action by warning, “greater transparency around persisting gender pay inequality is the only way to achieve better outcomes for all employees, no matter where or how they work.” So, how are you going to spread the word about #equalpayday 2019? At the very least, put on a red shirt and flood instagram with selfies to raise awareness. But, if you’re genuinely ready to close the gender wage gap, start crunching the numbers and get serious about the power of remote work.
Reposted from Forbes.com
Original article can be found at https://www.forbes.com/sites/laurelfarrer/2019/04/02/closing-the-gender-pay-gap-with-virtual-work/#552afcd046bd