The gender pay gap is a discussion that has been going on and on for years with no apparent settlement on how equal payment should be among employees of the same company. Women have been said to be less assertive than men when it comes to salary negotiation which is technically true.
In fact, men are four times likely to negotiate their salary than women. In most companies, women receive negative reaction if they negotiate their salary. According to a research by Princeton University press, ‘Sometimes they don’t know that change is possible–they don’t know that they can ask. Sometimes they fear that asking may damage a relationship. And sometimes they don’t ask because they’ve learned that society can react badly to women asserting their own needs and desires.’
This is why gender wage gap will still sit in many companies across boundaries. Many CEOs will be happy to have multiple women in their company assured that the pay rise talk will not be as often as it would be with a vice versa structure. Women are emotional beings and if a salary negotiations go wrong, they tend to look at the employer in different light or rather their everyday job becomes worthless which is why a majority of them would rather look for an alternative job.
With women’s progress toward full economic and social equality stalled, women’s lives becoming increasingly complex, and the structures of businesses changing, the ability to negotiate is no longer a luxury but a necessity.
Companies have however sorted to cub the disadvantage that women have at the bargaining table by introducing the “Take it or leave it” policy that aims to cultivate fair pay. The policy may not sit well with professionals who expect to negotiate their wages but the companies insist on equal gender wage.
How fair is it?
Ellen Pao, interim chief executive of Reddit, announced last month a ban on salary negotiations at the social media company. Whether the move was made on the basis of her being a woman or not, many argue that her move takes away an important tool to achieve equal pay. Instead, many have argued that Ms. Pao should teach women to be better negotiators.
Reddit is however not the only company that has embraced the ‘absurd’ policy. According to the Wall Street Journal, e-commerce startup Jet.com, test and preparation firm Moogosh and Elevations Credit Union have also come out clear on the take it or leave it policy that seeks to foster transparency and help alleviate the gender wage gap.
The new policy has however helped relieve employee unrest and has therefore improved recruitment efforts and retention. The companies therefore reward employees according to performance with pay rise only applicable when the company reaches a certain revenue milestone.
However much this might be an upper hand for women, critics argue that the policy leaves a lot of power in the hands of the employer which could fend off top talent. I briefly engaged few CEOs on the same to get a local feel about the policy and a majority of them were clear on the negotiation only policy. “ An employee will be paid according to their negotiations, an employee should know the worth they bring to the table and it is a plus for those who will defend their pay in relation to their effort.”
The policy once again leaves women in the same place with low wages due to incapable abilities to negotiate for more. Some of this company executives really did not care for gender wage gap arguing that value matters than a dwell on the gender gap in salaries. The value the employee adds to the company will be the pass to their respective pay. The argument makes a lot of sense in the sense of company growth. This way, the employees tend to be aggressive at work to get to the top.
Google also counter-intuitive strategy is to “pay unfairly.” “At Google, we … have situations where two people doing the same work can have a hundred times difference in their impact, and in their rewards.” The company says rewarding your company’s elite is smart management for any highly competitive business.
Whether the take it or leave it policy or the negotiations policy is the right way to go is left for Company executives to define and for the employees to make the best out of either.