As a leading proponent of pay equity focused screening solutions, HireRight was pleased and gratified to see “60 Minutes” feature a segment on strides to eradicate the persistent pay gap that women have struggled against in the workplace for decades.
As the “Me Too” movement continues to gain momentum, recognition that women are still being paid less than men for the same work—and continue to face a glass ceiling in many of even the most progressive organizations—is also receiving the recognition it warrants. It’s risen to significant exposure in the media; in fact, during host Jimmy Kimmel’s monologue at the internationally-televised Oscars, he revealed that while Mark Wahlberg was paid $1.5 million to reshoot scenes of a movie, co-star Michelle Williams was paid a scant $80 per day to reshoot her scenes. (Kimmel noted that Wahlberg donated his $1.5 million to the TIME’S UP Legal Defense Fund dedicated to help defray costs in select cases of women who have experienced sexual misconduct in the workplace or in trying to advance their careers).
At last, the drive to ensure pay equity throughout America—which is gaining support in other parts of the world, as well—has become a vital and critical topic at the highest corporate levels. The “60 Minutes” segment dedicated copious time to Salesforce’s CEO Marc Benioff, who has taken aggressive steps to ensure his organization closes the gender pay gap. He is working diligently to influence other CEOs to incorporate the same practices in their organizations, and speaking out at major forums and the national media to support pay equity.
As HireRight noted in its popular Pay Equity eBook, which highlights and clarifies the legislation already passed in numerous states, territories, and cities throughout the nation, the movement arose from the practice of job candidates being asked to reveal previous salaries. In addition to providing a level of discomfort, a candidate who states a salary too high for the organization’s budget could be eliminated from the competition. Citing a wage lower than the employer’s compensation criterion could result in the candidate getting the job but being low-balled in terms of compensation.
The underlying reason for the movement to end questions about previous salary actually lies with the onerous practice of paying women significantly less than men for the same work. As we wrote in the above-mentioned eBook (and condensed for your convenience in our Pay Equity Overview), a recent U.S. Census revealed that the median annual pay for a woman who holds a full-time job year-round is $40,742, while the median annual pay for a man who holds a full-time, year-round job is $51,212. And the disparity can be even greater for women of color. For example, among women who hold full-time jobs in the U.S., African-American women are typically paid 63 cents and Latinas are paid just 54 cents for every dollar paid to white, non-Hispanic men.
Research has proven that, historically, women have started their careers with a lower salary and it is quite likely that they will continue to make less when future employers offer salaries based on that first lower wage. As stated by a spokesperson for the Women and Public Policy Program at Harvard University’s Kennedy School, “When you peg your offer and salary based on what someone’s made in their last employment, you then replicate whatever discrimination people have faced in prior jobs.” A woman’s compensation throughout a decades-long career could remain low and inequitable based on a job she held as a teenager.
The drive to remove this unfair practice continues to gain traction, and as a worldwide organization that initiated screening solutions promoting equitable pay practices before it became law, HireRight applauds and supports this movement. We heartily endorse the exposure programs of the caliber and popularity of “60 Minutes” are bringing to this most important issue.
In addition to the above materials, HireRight invites you to enjoy and share with your friends, employers and family a recent authoritative and provocative webinar we hosted on pay equity.