The greatest single source of long-term pay inequity is the job offer. If we are committed to addressing pay inequity in our organizations, we have to start there.
Let’s say you have three candidates of mostly equal qualifications pursuing three identical positions at your organization: Jordan, Prisha, and Bari. You prepare three equal job offers with a starting salary of $100,000 each.
But just before you go to make your offers, someone on your team notes that Jordan is the only candidate who went to an ivy league school—and besides, he is the breadwinner in his family. Afraid that Jordan might not accept, the team agrees to add another $10k to his offer—and his alone.
You extend your offers, and Jordan negotiates. After a few exchanges, you agree to increase his offer by another $10,000. Prisha doesn’t negotiate at all. Bari does not negotiate, and then has a baby shortly after joining your company. She asks to take a one-year leave of absence on top of her paid maternity leave, and you offer to extend the same original offer when she returns.
Fast forward twenty years. Even assuming that promotions and raises were given out equitably, Jordan has now made $400k more than Prisha and $500k more than Bari. Let’s consider the role your organization played. Seemingly small early decisions—one informed by bias and another that was merely reactive to an aggressive candidate—led to a sizable pay equity gap. READ MORE
By Arthur H. Woods and Susanna Tharakan
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