ADP: Pressure to correct gender pay gaps to continue in 2019


Dive Brief:

  • Employers will continue to face pressure to shrink gender pay gaps and prioritize diversity initiatives in hiring, among other things, ADP announced in its 2019 employment trend predictions this week.

  • Employers will also need to adapt to worker expectations for personalization, even in the professional sphere, the organization said. ADP predicts that digital accounts will be more common for employees looking to access pay when and how they want instead of on traditional bi-weekly or monthly schedules. And employers may need to adapt to employees’ interest in financial tools to help them manage personal budgets and take-home pay. 

  • User-friendly HR technology implementation and hiring practices built for reliance on a “mosaic of workers” like freelancers and contractors to serve scaling businesses and fill the widening skills gap are additional trends ADP said employers will face in the coming year. These trends could also impact how employers think about performance management and employee engagement, according to ADP’s predictions.

Dive Insight:

For employers of all sizes, achieving pay parity is not simply an ideological goal it’s a very real pressure from shareholders, employees, clients and federal enforcement agencies, including the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

“I think the most important thing, in terms of solving this, is to get creative,” EEOC Commissioner Charlotte Burrows said at the American Bar Association Section of Labor and Employment Law’s annual conference in November. “To fix the problem, we have to look at some of the other tools that we have … there’s a lot of employers who want to move forward and be proactive about this.”

Pay equity, pay transparency and inclusivity were hot topics for employers in 2018, but concrete solutions are still a challenge, according to experts. In research released earlier this year, ADP reported that women are paid 17% less on average than their male colleagues in terms of base salary — a figure that ratchets up to 19% on average with the inclusion of incentive pay.

Salesforce is one employer that has taken a proactive approach to address its gender pay gap. Since 2015, the SaaS company has dropped $6 million to correct gender pay inequity among its employees and has enacted new measures to amplify women’s voices within the company. Its dedication to inclusivity and monitoring pay inequity earned it acclaim as a top workplace for women.

For employers that want to focus on this issue, conducting a pay audit and being ready to remedy any discrepancies that an audit might surface is the first step to correcting pay gaps. At a time when major companies have settled pay discrimination lawsuits with significant dollar amounts attached, these audits can help businesses thwart potential claims before they occur.

Though it doesn’t directly solve pay inequities, being honest and transparent about pay scales and reasoning behind salary levels can help assuage employee resentments and improve workplace culture, according to Beth Steinberg, chief people officer at Zenefits.

“If your employees don’t understand their compensation — and why it is where it is — that’s a huge problem. I always tell my hiring managers, if we’re doing our jobs right, employees should never feel confused or in the dark about compensation,” she wrote in an opinion piece for HR Dive.

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