Today is Equal Pay Day. That means it’s the perfect time to stop and ask, what is your organisation doing to close the gender pay gap?
Equal Pay Day, 31 August 2021, marking the 61 additional days from the end of the previous financial year that women must work to earn the same pay as men. In 2020, the number of additional days was 59.
The fact that women on average still make only 85.8% as much as men has been in public discussion for years. While there have been encouraging movements forward, the disparity remains. A study conducted by the Workplace Gender Equality Agency estimates that at this rate, the pay gap won’t close until 2047.
At Great Place to Work®, we’ve been studying what makes for fair, great workplaces for women, and our team is lucky to work with companies that are openly acknowledging the issue and doing what they can to address it.
An example of a company leading the charge in this area is AbbVie. Even though ‘Gold’ Best Workplace™ AbbVie has been listed among Australia’s Best Workplaces for the past nine years and scored highly on the Trust Index™ statement people here are paid fairly for the work they do (scoring above the World’s Best Workplaces benchmark) they decided to do a little digging in relation to pay equity. AbbVie undertook a pay gap analysis and found a gap of 7.5%.“As an organisation, we stand by what we believe in. This means that when we say that we are an inclusive and equitable organisation, we take the necessary steps to ensure we remain one,” said Nicolas Goncalves, Human Resources Director, AbbVie Australia and New Zealand.
This move, along with other equality efforts at the pharmaceutical firm, has helped drive equal pay and contributed to their Best Workplace culture.
Here are three ways a commitment to equal pay can strengthen organisational culture.
1. Attracting and retaining talented women
Everyone wants to work at an organisation where they feel valued. Since starting their equal pay initiative, AbbVie has grown as a beacon for talented women in the pharmaceutical industry and enjoyed the fruits of a more fully engaged workforce. AbbVie was awarded the Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA) Employer of Choice for Gender Equality (EOCGE) citation. Not surprisingly, the company has been growing fast and performing well against its rivals.
2. All employees feel more pride in their company
In the wake of the pay equity push, women at AbbVie report a better work experience and all staffers feel more pride about their employer. In 2020, 92% of women felt pay was fair at AbbVie. The focus on leveling up women didn’t make men feel overlooked—93% of men at the company believing people get paid fairly. And for both sexes, levels of pride climbed from 84% in 2018 to 95% in 2020.
3. A healthier work environment and community
AbbVie employees go home to be better parents, friends, and neighbours, even as the company—like many other best workplaces—gives generously to the community. Against the backdrop of the pay equity initiative, AbbVie also created a major focus on mindfulness to prevent stress and promote wellbeing. In 2020, they launched an online employee program called Mindarma, an evidence-based program designed to equip people with coping strategies to support building resilience, incorporating mindfulness as one key strategy. They have provided additional wellbeing support by providing Mental Health First Aid training to all employees, and through a Zen room (complete with a comfortable lounge, mood lamp and massage chair) that doubles as a prayer room to support employee religious practices.
Following AbbVie’s pay gap analysis, the company signed up to the Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA) Pay Equity Pledge. The Pay Equity Pledge analyses and monitors AbbVie’s talent management data, including pay, by gender. “The pledge sets the expectations among people managers that they address gender bias in their decision-making”, said Nicolas Goncalves, Human Resources Director, AbbVie Australia and New Zealand. Almost 150 companies CEO’s, heads of departments, industry groups, directors and membership bodies have signed up as Pay Equity Ambassadors with the Workplace Gender Equality Agency.
But we need more businesses to join the movement. And that means more than just leveling pay; WGEA research indicates that a number of workplace policies have proven important to ensuring women continue to progress into senior positions and reducing the gender pay gap, such as flexible workplace policies and employer-funded paid parental leave schemes. Beyond this, we need more companies to help all employees tap into their full human potential and create Great Places to Work For All™.
The bottom line is that these policies aren’t just the right thing to do in the workplace – they actively create stronger businesses, faster growth, and a more engaged workforce. They’re a smart decision for everyone.
Mira Haldun is the Client Enablement Specialist at Great Place to Work® in Australia and NZ. Mira’s role involves taking a holistic approach to managing the customer experience, ensuring the customer has the resources, tools and support to make the most of their employee survey experience and Great Place to Work-Certification™.