a The amount women
make compared with male
counterparts in identical
positions. Twenty-fve percent of women say they’ve
earned less than a man
doing the exact same job.
The wage gap, “diversity debt,”
and unconscious bias are
holding your company back
from becoming its best self.
By Kate Rockwood
C hristopher Cabrera’s awakening happened while he was working at a Silicon Valley startup in the 1990s. He was halfway through iring an eight-person team when
his boss pointed out that all of his hires were
white guys in their early 20s. “This isn’t a fraternity” his boss said—a phrase that haunted
Cabrera more than a decade later when he
was launching Xactly, a sales-performance-management-platform company.
So imagine Cabrera’s surprise in 2014, when,
while researching his 300-person company’s
sales data, he found that his female employees
closed deals 3 percent more often than their
male colleagues and yet, on average, were paid
less. It turned out that his hiring managers were
being rewarded for bringing in new employees
for as little as possible, which worked against
women, who are less likely to aggressively
negotiate their own salaries, even for positions
that require savvy negotiating skills. “Most
gender bias isn’t nefarious, or some global conspiracy against women,” says Cabrera. “But it
creeps in, in all these subtle ways.” Cabrera
raised pay to reach gender parity, and launched
a training program for hiring managers to better
match salary ofers to a job’s skills.
Addressing disparity is no longer a luxury
for companies. “The risks of not taking this
seriously are profound: lawsuits, stupid products that can’t scale because they’re designed
from a myopic point of view, losing real talent
that doesn’t want to work in a one-note culture,”
says Amanda Lannert, CEO of Jellyvision, a
Chicago-based software company with 410
employees. Here are some ways to fx the
gender imbalance at your company.