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Women Make Less. Let’s Do More About It.

Professional woman drawing on a whiteboard

Women do not get paid what men do, and this has been a story for decades. It was one of the major findings in our 2020 Talent Insights Report , which shows the average salary of men to be 10.7% higher in a comparable role. So, what exactly are organizations doing to bridge the gap? And, you might wonder, what is Vitamin T doing specifically? Let’s talk gender disparity and see who’s walking the walk to end it. 

Yes, It Really Is That Bad

The latest stats from the Census Bureau show that women lose $9,766 each year to gender disparity. And even if things continue to change as they have been, the Institute for Women’s Policy Research estimates it will take until 2059 for white women to make the same as men. Black women will be waiting until 2119, and Hispanic women until 2224—a whopping 200+ years.

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 Plus, solving for gender disparity doesn’t just mean hiring more women. Say you have a company with six product designers, three male and three female. You may feel you are balancing the scales. Yet, according to the data from our Check Salary tool , your male designers could be earning an average of 19.5% more for doing the exact same work. In creative positions in general, men are making as much as 15.6% more than their female coworkers. 

Hire Power

Ok, so where do we start? Harvard Business Review calls job posts low hanging fruit, saying that removing gendered language is a productive first step. They found in male-heavy jobs like computer programming, posts were rife with words like “dominate” and “competitive.” (Conversely, stereotypically female roles like teaching feature words like “collaborate” and “supportive.”) Since the world isn’t going to stop associating certain words with certain genders anytime soon, you can at least remove such gendered language so you don’t unintentionally alienate half the workforce.

At Google, Facebook, and Microsoft, only 19-20% of technical roles are held by women . Slack on the other hand has 34% in such roles, and 33% of their leadership roles are held by women. One way Slack gets more diverse is by looking outside the traditional talent pipeline and at places like Hackbright , an all-women’s coding camp, or Code2040 for Black and Latino programmers.

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At Vitamin T, we recently surveyed our staff to better understand how to support them and provide career pathing and mentoring opportunities. To help out talent, we trained  recruiters to mitigate bias when hiring and created the Vitamin T’s Book , which provides portfolio results based on objective, not subjective, criteria. Plus, we partnered with the Professional Diversity Network (PDN) , a recruiting platform that pairs job seekers with employers building a diverse workforce—one of their eight affinity groups focuses specifically on women. We're also using technology to decode job postings and make them gender neutral. 

An Audit You Don’t Need the IRS For

The Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM) suggests a pay audit to see what men and women make for the same roles while factoring in experience, education, and job performance—and then correct for disparity. This process needs to be repeated every year.

Cybersecurity company McAfee leveled salaries across the organization so that the same role in the same location would get the same pay, regardless of gender. At Vitamin T, we’re launching a new HR software system to better track and analyze pay structures and are implementing new programs to address wage inequality.

Beyond the paycheck

Of course, women need more cold, hard cash in their pockets, but there are other ways to think about closing the gender pay gap. Back in 2018, Starbucks announced they achieved 100% equal pay for their male and female employees. Yet that was only part of the story. The coffee giant also offered unprecedented parental leave . Women taking time out to have kids has long been known as the Motherhood Penalty because they may end up dropping out of the workforce when their pay can’t justify childcare costs. Or, if they do return, they’re often passed up for raises or promotions. Starbucks is thinking of the long haul.

Another area to consider is tuition reimbursement. Free education on the job is important because, as research fellow Siri Chilazi at Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government says, “The highest-paying jobs that require the most education show the largest wage gaps.”   Education is something Vitamin T and Aquent believe in deeply. Our free Gymnasium classes give women the opportunity to bump up their skills so that they can go out and get those (hopefully) higher-paying jobs. We also offer tuition reimbursement—up to $8,000 per year for seminars, courses, degrees, and certificate programs.

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Put a Taskforce on the Job

Many organizations are making fighting inequality in the workplace a job unto itself. With this year’s protests against police brutality and the spotlight on the glaring racial injustices in our society, we saw a rise in Diversity and Inclusion task forces . We set up our own taskforce at Vitamin T to facilitate open forums, book clubs, speakers, training, and resources to educate and support our team. Next up are employee affinity groups, including one focused on working parents, to further build community. Additionally, we’re working on programs to outline career paths and provide mentoring for our employees' professional interests.


Stop the Gab. And Stop the Gap.

We could gab about this gap all day, but the most important thing is to do something about it. We are constantly striving to provide more resources, more mentoring, more career opportunities—and, of course, more pay to the women here. So, please keep more suggestions coming and help us shrink the gap.

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