Pay Equity and DEI Initiatives

Pay equity and diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) initiatives are transforming the workforce and creating more equitable work environments. In this blog, we dive into the stories of Nadia, a business analyst and single mom seeking fair compensation, and Franklin, an HR generalist committed to supporting DEI and transparent pay structures. This narrative explores the challenges faced by employers and job seekers alike and offers tips on how to have open conversations about compensation. 

The Current State of Pay Equity 

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) shows that pay gaps persist for women and minorities, despite improvements in recent years. According to the BLS, as of 2021, women earned 81.3% of what men earned. Additionally, racial and ethnic minorities continue to experience pay disparities compared to their white counterparts. Let’s consider the scenario from individual perspectives. 

Setting the Scene: The Struggle for Pay Equity 

Nadia is a single mother who put herself through evening school to advance her career. She started as a data analyst, a position that provided her with the foundation to become a business analyst. Nadia is passionate about her work, but she suspects that she is underpaid and undervalued. When searching for new opportunities online, she is puzzled by the wide pay ranges listed and the jobs where pay is “based on experience” or not advertised at all. 

Nadia is unsure how to answer questions about salary expectations. Should she dodge the question entirely? Will stating a high expectation eliminate her from consideration? While she knows she is ready for a new challenge, she is also aware that the job market is tight. To gain more insight, she decides to consult a recruiter. 

Driving DEI Initiatives Forward 

Franklin is an experienced HR generalist, but he is new to his current company. He is responsible for supporting internal hiring and DEI initiatives. While the organization is committed to achieving DEI goals, Franklin is surprised by the existing pay disparities and lack of transparency. Franklin not only understands the importance of pay equity but desires to make change; his “why” is personal.  

He remembers how he felt receiving a $10K raise he received after his previous employer conducted a salary audit. On the one hand, he was grateful for the increase, but on the other hand, he was disturbed by the thought of being under-compensated for a long time. His sense of trust in his employer was eroded.  

As a former athlete and military vet, Franklin views trust as an essential component to success with DEI. Franklin decided to collaborate with an external hiring partner to gather current pay information and educate himself so he could speak intelligently with his business unit’s hiring managers.  

Franklin brings the information he gathers from his external hiring partner to his team. They discuss best practices and the value of making changes in communication around pay.  

The stories of Nadia and Franklin are still in progress, and examples of what goes on behind the scenes in the quest for pay equity and DEI initiatives. 

Seeing the Challenges from Both Sides 

As Director of Human Resources for Equiliem, a company that helps job seekers and employers understand fair pay rates, the issues are familiar to Emily Michaels.  “We are big proponents for transparency; it helps both the job candidate and the employer establish a framework of integrity.” Michaels adds, “We’re here to help educate both parties based on market data; pay rates and equity are conversations we don’t shy away from.”  

Challenges for Employers: 

  • Addressing existing pay disparities. 
  • Implementing transparent pay structures. 
  • Ensuring diversity in hiring and promotion processes. 
  • Continuously updating knowledge of current market pay data. 

Michaels said that there are many solutions to making needed changes. “Having conversations is the first step towards solutions. It’s exciting to see how quickly changes can be made and contribute to DEI initiatives.” 

From the Employee Perspective 

Tips for Job Seekers: 

  • Research industry-standard pay for your role and location. 
  • Be prepared to discuss your value and contributions in previous roles. 
  • If asked about salary expectations, provide a range based on your research. 
  • Consider working with a recruiter to gain more insights into pay equity. 

Pay Equity: Essential to Sustainable Careers 

“When we work hard for something we don’t believe in, it’s called stress. When we work hard for something we do believe in, it’s called passion.”  

—Simon Sinek, in his book The Infinite Game 

Passion is often the difference between workers who care and those who join the growing ranks of “quiet quitters.” Forward-looking companies understand that fair compensation matters, and unfair compensation can be soul-crushing. In the competition for the best, brightest, and most diverse workplace, equitable pay will be essential to creating sustainable careers where people can thrive. 

If you’re looking for work, we invite you to open a conversation with your recruiter. If you’re someone who is hiring, our staffing team is here to bring insight and collaborate on solutions.  

About Equiliem

Equiliem (www.equiliem.com) believes in empowering success. It’s our job to cultivate relationships that connect people and employers in a way that is inclusive, intelligent, and allows both to thrive. 

Across the U.S., leading companies in healthcare, government, light industrial manufacturing, professional services, and energy rely on us for their workforce solutions. Our recruiting and HR services include contract and direct hire staffing, Payrolling/EOR, Independent Contractor Compliance, and Managed Services.

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