Headline, July 11 2021/ ''' '' GENDER PAY GRRRRS '' '''


 GRRRRS '' '''

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IN 2006 DENMARK INTRODUCED LEGISLATION requiring companies with more than 35 employees to report on their gender wage gaps. A study examining the short term effects of that law found that it succeeded in reducing the gap by 7 percent.

In the United States, a handful of states - including California and New York - have passed laws prohibiting companies from penalizing their employees for talking about pay.

Carolyn Kopprasch earns $225,000 a year. Maria Thomas makes $267,890. Then comes Dancy Peters with a salary of $105,143. That information taken in before I exchange pleasantries with these women, feels almost illicit - like the confessions of a stranger oversharing at a bar.

Ms. Kopprasch, Ms. Thomas and Ms. Peters all work at Buffer, a fully remote social media company - ''Slack is our HQ,'' employees joke - that made the unusual decision, eight years ago, to disclose every employee's salary online. The goal was to close the company's gender gap, which hovered around 4 percent in the early years of the initiative.

It didn't entirely work, the company discovered. It turns out the gap between men's and women's earnings is a numbers problem; making those numbers public doesn't make them even.

The overall raw wage gap in the United States was 17.7 percent in 2020, though it's far bigger for Black and Hispanic women. The gap is usually attributed to the fact that women work two-thirds of the country's low-paying jobs and that the fields dominated by men tend to offer higher wages.

But even when women and men work exactly the same jobs, men earn more. That's partly because women are less likely to negotiate for higher pay and more likely to be penalized when they do.

''Instead of being seen as shrewd, a woman negotiating is seen as complaining,'' said C. Nicole Mason, president of the Institute for Women's Policy Research. ''Literally just for articulating what she says she deserves for her skills.''

In recent decades, some experts have argued that there's an obvious means of closing the pay gap : making salaries public. When women know how much their male counterparts earn, they're in a better place to demand the same compensation. And companies might feel pressure to equalize pay or to better explain to workers how salaries are determined.

The push for those kinds of measures took on new urgency during the pandemic, as more than two million American women left the workforce. Research has shown that women who took a year away from work can have earnings 39 percent lower than their counterparts who don't.

Joel Gaascoigne, the chief executive of Buffer, took that idea further in 2013. He not only released every employee's salary but also started using a formula to set pay, based entirely on the person's role and hometown cost of living.

He wasn't sure how his employees would react when he announced the idea. tepidly, at an all-staff meeting. But right away it was embraced by the team, which is now nearly 100 people.

For Ms. Kopprasch, Buffer's chief of special projects, the news that her salary would be algorithmically determined hit with a wave of relief. She had entered the workforce in 2008, when she graduated from college into an economic crisis. It hadn't occurred to her to ask her new boss for more than the $35,000 she was offered: she was happy to have any job at all.

''I thought there was a risk that if I asked for too much, I'd be considered greedy and ungrateful, and he'd say. '' Never mind, we don't want to hire you at all,'' Ms. Kopprasch recalled.

At her next job, in an email marketing company in Nashville, she learned over drinks one night that a male co-worker at her level was making significantly more than her $40,000 salary.

The disparity felt like a betrayal to Ms. Kopprasch - but how, she wondered, could she have known? It hadn't ever seemed appropriate, or necessary, to ask her colleagues how much they were making.

That wouldn't be the case at Buffer. Not to mention that Buffer's pay was significantly more generous,  at a starting salary of $70,000. '' I can afford strawberries,'' Ms. Kopprasch remembered thinking when she started at the company in 2012.

She wasn't the only employee to cheer the company's shift. Some were gratified to see that the hiring process no longer involved the awkward song and dance of negotiating people's pay. Salary was determined simply by the job description and location of the new employee.

'' It was this incredible sense of relief,'' said Ms. Thomas, who joined Buffer as its chief product officer in 2020, having worked at Microsoft and Intuit. '' I would rather have a root canal done than fight for a salary.''

The Honor and Serving of the Latest Global Operational Research on Gender Pay Gap and Salary Transparency, continues. The World Students Society thanks author Emma Goldberg.

With respectful dedication to all the companies of the world, and then Students, Professors and Teachers. See Ya all prepare and register for Great Global Elections on The World Students Society : wssciw.blogspot.com and Twitter - !E-WOW! - The Ecosystem 2011 :

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