Companies Working Together to Close the Pay Gap

Betsey Stevenson

Women are working more today than they were in previous generations, and are increasingly our most highly-educated workers. Today, women account for 47 percent of the labor force and more households than ever have a woman as the primary or equal breadwinner in the household. Yet the typical woman working full-time all-year earn only earns 79 percent of what her male counterpart makes. This gap is even greater for African-American and Latina women, with African American women earning 64 cents and Latina women earning 56 cents for every dollar earned by a white non-Hispanic man. Even after accounting for a wide-range of factors like experience, occupation, and industry, a pay gap persists.

Companies are increasingly taking initiative to reduce the pay gap and ensure fair pay for their workers. This requires not only ensuring equal pay for equal work, but companies must identify and remove barriers that reduce the likelihood that women and minorities are hired, promoted, or given a raise. In June, 28 companies signed on to the White House Equal Pay Pledge to signal their commitment pay equality. Today marks the next step in this progress as 29 more companies are signing on. These 57 companies have agreed to analyze their gender pay gaps, review their hiring and promotion processes and procedures to reduce biases, place equal pay efforts in broader equity initiatives, and identify and promote best practices in closing the wage gap.

A subset of these companies are taking the pledge to the next level by coming together to form “Employers for Pay Equity”. This consortium is bringing together companies who not only understand the importance of doing all that they can to ensure inclusion and diversity, but who are willing to work together — even with competitors — to share what they are learning and learn from others. These employers are committed to collaboration as a crucial component to eliminate pay and leadership gaps.

These companies realize these practices aren’t just good for women, or for families. By helping attract and retain top talent, they also make good business sense. As participating businesses have stated, “a diverse workforce results in better products and services” and “pay parity helps us build the trusting environment that drives the best teams [and] allows us to retain the best talent”. We should all be grateful that these companies are coming together to lead us to a stronger and fairer economy.

Betsey Stevenson

Written by

Former Member of the President's Council of Economic Advisers and Chief Economist at Labor. Current academic economist at Michigan. Always an economist at home.

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