Accenture’s chief leadership and human resources officer talks to Moneyish about strategies to close the gender pay gap.
As part of a series to mark Equal Pay Day, Moneyish asked some prominent women to share their thoughts and experiences around equal pay. Read more here.
Last year, we marked Equal Pay Day on April 12. It’s calculated annually to measure how far into the new year women must work to earn what men earned in the previous year. So April 4 – eight days sooner – is a small victory as we inch slowly towards progress. The World Economic Forum’s most recent projection, however, revealed it will take 170 years to close the gender pay gap. We need strategies that help us sprint – not inch – toward pay equality.
Equality for all is a core belief of mine. Racial equality. LGBTQ equality. And certainly gender equality, which must extend to gender pay equality.
Every organization has a choice – to stare at the problem and try to explain why it’s ok, or have the courage to change. At Accenture, we choose to hold the mirror up closely to our own practices to make sure we’re sprinting, not inching, toward equal pay for the women and men of Accenture. Reflecting on our own journey, here are a few of the difference makers.
If we find a problem, we fix it. Immediately. This value is shared across all levels of the organization, starting with our CEO, Pierre Nanterme, and our board. To do this, we rely on a rigorous review process that looks at the pay of women and men at a very granular level across the countries where we do business. With these proactive checks, we’ve built an environment where I’m proud to say we are finding fewer and fewer discrepancies to fix. With a clear process in place, backed with data and regular reporting, companies can create a culture that values the job itself and what is accomplished, free of bias.
Give people a voice. In the past year we’ve revolutionized our approach to performance management. Backward-looking annual reviews are replaced with real-time, on demand meaningful conversations. The change has been transformative. People have a voice through regular, honest and productive discussions about their performance, compensation and career growth. Creating opportunities for women to have these open and safe discussions about progression and pay is especially important.
Transparency builds trust. When people understand the expectations of their positions, along with their worth and value on a regular basis, they are positioned to succeed – not to mention more engaged and collaborative. This rigor, clarity and transparency all build trust across our organization.
Commitment beyond our doors. Given our size and global reach, we are also committed to not just driving change for our people but making an impact beyond our four walls. For the past few years, we have conducted research that focuses on solutions to accelerate closing the gender pay gap. Our latest report, Getting to Equal, reveals three important equalizers that when combined, would reduce the pay gap by 35 percent worldwide and add $3.9 trillion to women’s income by 2030. There is reason to be optimistic because our research shows that today’s female university students in developed markets could be the first generation in history to see the gender pay gap close in their professional lifetimes — if they can improve their digital fluency, have proactive career strategies and take advantage of immersing themselves in adopting and learning new technology.
These actions propel us towards the day when we don’t have to talk about the gender pay gap anymore. To solve any equality challenge, disruptive solutions must be followed up with diligence and tenacity. The goal needs to be top of mind every single day – checking in, intervening, acting. The time will come when we won’t have to – equal pay will be just the way it is. But until that day, we’ll keep going.
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