Common challenges

The Gender Pay Gap: What You Can Do

April 11, 2019

The gender pay gap has been a big topic of conversation lately, and this prominence is likely to continue. Despite increased awareness and changing legislation, the gender wage gap persists in every province across all sectors. In the Global Gender Gap Report 2018 conducted by the World Economic Forum, Canada ranked twenty-seventh in economic participation and opportunity, with a distance to parity of 0.31 for wage equality for similar work. This means Canadian women typically earn 69 cents for every dollar earned by their male counterparts. This figure is shocking, especially because a gender difference in educational attainment is not taken into consideration when doing these comparisons.

It’s important for employers to be aware of the gender wage gap, as well as actions they can take to reduce it. Women are half of the population. Not surprisingly, female participation in the workforce can significantly influence growth, competitiveness, and future economies. Similarly, women make up a large portion of the consumer market. It is estimated that an additional $150 billion in GDP growth could result in 2026 if the wage gap was closed and female workforce participation was boosted. Excluding women from equal participation in the labour force harms individuals, families, employers, and the economy at large.

The wage gap also influences workplace culture. A work environment that fosters equality benefits the entire organization. Fairness, or perceived fairness, is essential to a healthy and trusting work environment, as well as employee morale and engagement. Having happier, more productive and engaged employees also positively influences the bottom line. If employees think inequality is unaddressed, they are more likely to seek employment elsewhere.

Employers may wonder how a gender gap infiltrated their organization. Gender gaps within organizations are often unintentional. A variety of factors can contribute to the gender wage gap, many of which are unconscious or systemic in nature. However, rather than trying to place blame on a single factor, employers should focus on how to remediate gaps within their organization.

Many jurisdictions have regulations related to pay equity that employers must abide by, but there are some additional steps employers can take beyond legislative requirements. Download our FREE Equal Pay Improvement Guide, which provides guidance on how employers can eliminate gender wage gaps within their organizations, and as a result, reduce gender inequality on a national and global scale.

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