Hamilton Herald Masthead


Front Page - Friday, March 24, 2023

Career Corner: Equal Pay Day reminds us of systemic inequity

Equal Pay Day this year fell was March 14. This day symbolizes how far into the new year women must work to earn what men earned in the previous year. But, it’s important to note that when you look at specific groups of women, the date is later in the year.

Black women, for example, do not reach equal pay day until July 27, and Latina women don’t reach it until Oct. 5. On average, women earn 82 cents for each dollar men earn. Black women earn 65 cents, and Latina women earn 60 cents.

This is shocking, and sad. But, more importantly, it’s true.

The first step to solving a problem is acknowledging that it exists. Research suggests there are many factors that contribute to the pay gap. A piece is linked to bias. A piece is attributed to family caregiving responsibilities that fall disproportionately at the feet of women. And, another piece is attributed to the types of roles women fill at work compared to men.

What can we do about this issue? There isn’t just one solution. It’s a complex problem that might take generations to solve. But in the short term, there is some good news. Pay transparency is up.

Yes, you heard that right. In fact, Indeed.com finds that pay transparency in job postings has more than doubled since 2020. In February 2020, 18.4% of employers provided salary information in a job posting on Indeed. In February 2023, that number 43.7%.

Why are companies publishing salaries on job postings more? One factor is regulations. In 2019, for example, Colorado passed legislation that requires employers to include salary information on job postings.

As the number of remote jobs has increased, those jobs must follow regulations like the one in Colorado. Additionally, as companies have faced a tough labor market, including salary information is a way to be more competitive with hiring.

In the past, it was considered smart for employers to keep pay ranges to themselves. It was thought of as the way to get the best deal on talent. Today, it is becoming more common to view disclosing salary as the ethical and fair thing to do.

Workers attitudes also have shifted, with Gen Z being a great example of this shift. They are much more likely than other generations to have open conversations with one another about pay. When we are all more open about pay, we increase the likelihood that people will be paid fairly across the board.

If you believe you are underpaid, consider switching jobs. Often, this will create a larger pay bump than you would ever experience staying at the same place. Some estimates find that switching companies multiple times can increase your earnings by more than 40 to 50% over the lifetime of your career.

Angela Copeland, a leadership and career expert, can be reached at www.angelacopeland.com.