Pay Parity is a Fair Topic for Discussion on this International Day of Peace


Rick Gillis, Author,  Leveling the Playing Field

Goldman Sachs has said it will take 100 years for women to achieve pay parity in the U.S. August 3, the 215th day of this year, was Black Women’s Equal Pay Day in the U.S. This is the day that a black woman in the U.S. will earn what a white man earned in the previous year. The World Economic Forum (WEF) estimates that globally it will take nearly 260 years for women to achieve parity globally due to women in some countries earning 40% of what men are paid. None of this takes into consideration the impact Covid will have on women, people of color, and pay globally. 

In my humble opinion pay equity would solve many of the problems that exist across the planet and is worthy of discussion in this forum and at this time.

In an article in the Global Citizen, they wrote “The gender pay gap occurs in all countries and societies and across most professions, and it can prevent women from achieving economic independence and security.” 

In 1963, U.S. President John F. Kennedy signed the Equal Pay Act but even today (white) women in the U.S. earn approximately 20% less than men doing the same work. More to the point—or perhaps, more in line with my opinion, while I wholly support the concept of equal pay for equal work, and I believe in a living-wage minimum, I’m more inclined to believe, especially at professional levels, in proper pay for the best performance. Removing gender (good for both women AND men) from the discussion means that men and women would be affected equally, but it also requires what I have taken to calling ‘paycheck workers’ (hourly or salaried vs. commissioned employees) to be able to identify, and accurately determine the value of the work they produce for their organization—even if they have never done so before—and to be able to share that information not only with their immediate supervisor, but also with their supervisor’s supervisors. 

Where did this idea come from? It came about as the result of my counseling people who, when seeking advancement, could not speak to the ‘wow’,—the net result of their efforts in terms of dollars, in support of their personal campaign. In my professional experience, people claim ‘on time and under budget’ as an achievement, but can’t describe actual value delivered to their organization in terms of revenue made or saved. Note that this concept is applicable for all workers at all levels. 

Yes, this idea requires a change of mindset on the part of management, as it requires a more robust sharing of relevant information by the company with their workers who are then able to recognize and realize the value of their contributions. 

I know what you are thinking: ‘We can’t be sharing confidential information’. I understand the concern but costs(i.e., such as inventory, rent, equipment, etc.) are similar across industries and, as such, are not confidential. Car dealership A and car dealership B have the same costs associated with delivering a same/similar product. What is confidential is the new service innovation being discussed, new software being developed, the ‘stealing’ of a senior manager from a competitor, or the plan to develop a new location at the competition’s doorstep. 

The bottom line on this Day of Peace is my belief that the industrialized world must set the example for the developing world that fair pay for all workers is reasonable, attainable, and beneficial to all parties.

Rick GillisAbout the Author: Rick Gillis is the author of Leveling the Paying Field, A Groundbreaking Approach to Achieving Fair Pay (2021 Indigo River Publishing)