Great strides have been made in recent years in moving our workforce toward equal pay for women, but we still have a long way to go. From 2017 to 2020, the gender pay gap decreased from women making 77 cents for every dollar paid to a male counterpart to about 83 cents. But with factors such as age and being out of the workforce for extended periods of time, women lose opportunities for pay raises, talent development, and promotions. Despite these potential setbacks, some experts see optimism in the future of pay equity.
According to an article published in January 2022 on the U.S. Census Bureau’s website, the gender gap in pay equity has narrowed for younger women with higher education levels who seek positions for jobs that were traditionally dominated by men. But, while there’s a growing presence of women in professional roles, science-related industries, and technical services, all of which offer higher pay, there is still a higher percentage of women working jobs in lower paying industries. This may soon change, however.
What is contributing to higher pay across the board?
One contributing factor for higher pay for male and female workers alike is the current labor market. After what has been dubbed The Great Resignation, when a record number of workers quit their jobs in 2021 and 2022, employers are pulling out all the stops to attract viable talent by offering pay increases and opening positions up to pay negotiations. Women returning to the workforce after the pandemic have the chance to increase their value with more employment opportunities available to them than ever before. Women are also returning to a labor market that has embraced flexibility in the workplace, with companies offering fully remote positions or a hybrid of in-person and remote scheduling. Though children have returned to classrooms, the threats of illness and quarantines still loom, and a flexible workplace allows women to continue to be valuable to their employers while also fulfilling responsibilities to their families. Applying both gender-based and cultural pay equity will be crucial to an employer’s ability to attract and retain the talent they need to operate a successful business.
What does the future hold?
To compete in the future, businesses will need to embrace a post-pandemic labor market that includes luring women back to the workplace with the pay equity they deserve and a job environment in which they can compete. With fierce competition among employers to attract the best talent, companies who offer fair pay, great benefits, and flextime are more appealing to job applicants. Workers have more choices, and now have the freedom to be more selective when choosing to accept an employment offer. Flexibility and adaptability will be key for employers moving into the future, and in this environment, achieving pay equity seems more attainable than ever before.
If you would like to learn more about achieving pay equity in the workplace, improving employee retention, recruiting new talent, maintaining regulatory compliance, or if you need assistance with human resources management, reach out to Carrie Free at HR1 Consulting, your strategic HR partner! Carrie is a senior human resource professional who has extensive experience implementing innovative programs and practices for businesses, including developing customized strategies that align with your business goals and increase employee engagement, performance, and retention. Contact Carrie at firstname.lastname@example.org