Brett Daniel

Leaders are looking to better understand how to reduce gender inequality in the workplace. A key way to achieve this goal is to use people analytics. While it may seem daunting, people analytics can help you figure out where to start, where to focus and how to measure impact.

What are some examples of gender inequality in the workplace?

Before diving in, you should understand how gender inequality presents itself. One example is a lack of gender representation. For instance, a data science department may be primarily staffed by male data scientists despite a sizable talent pool of qualified women data scientists available for hire. In this case, leaders can use people analytics to inform their recruitment strategy, perhaps increasing their outreach to professional organizations focused on women in technology. Ultimately, it’s important to ensure that the best candidate is selected for the role; however, if a diverse slate of women candidates isn’t making it to the offer stage or applying, further analysis should be conducted to understand why.

Another example of gender inequality in the workplace is unexplained gender pay gaps. For example, women data scientists may be well represented but not paid the same as their male counterparts. These pay gaps should be closed if the men and women data scientists do roughly the same work in the same location and possess the same experience levels, credentials and performance outcomes. Leaders can use people analytics to identify unexplained gender pay gaps and determine how much it would cost to close them.

What is the main reason for gender inequality in the workplace?

The main reason for gender inequality in the workplace is the decisions made about women and other gender groups based on consciously and unconsciously held beliefs. For example, some of these beliefs assume that men are better at certain jobs than women and that women who are mothers, expecting mothers or who plan to be mothers can’t perform as well. There are also issues related to intersectionality, which are harder to identify. For example, often, women who are veterans, have one or more disabilities, are of color and who are younger or older experience compounding inequalities. Eliminating the outcomes of gender inequality is challenging, but people analytics can help make it easier.

How do we solve gender inequality in the workplace?

Data and insights about gender composition and pay equity can help leaders make informed adjustments to pay, policies and practices, thereby reducing gender inequalities over time.

Use APAM to address inequalities

The assess, plan, act, measure (APAM) process can help you use data to achieve workforce goals.

Use your data to assess, for example, which gender groups are well represented. Examine your recruiting pipeline — the groups of employees coming into your organization — and offboarding pipeline — the groups of employees leaving your organization — to gain more context. Industry benchmarks can also help you compare your demographics to those of businesses in your industry. Additionally, you can survey or speak to underrepresented employee populations, perhaps via business resource groups (BRGs) if you have them, to understand underlying issues. Next, plan to encourage more people from the identified groups to apply for employment and to retain them if hired. Understanding the concentration of underrepresented groups (URGs) and their underlying barriers and issues can help inform related recruitment and retention strategies. Finally, act on your plan, hiring qualified candidates from these groups, and measure changes in representation over time. Meanwhile, identify and correct the root causes of underrepresentation to prevent recurrences. Repeat the APAM process as needed.

For more on the APAM process, download this people analytics handbook.

Use APAM to close gender pay gaps

You can also use APAM to close gender pay gaps. First, review your data and assess whether employees working the same jobs in the same locations with the same experience levels, credentials and performance outcomes are paid the same. If they aren’t, plan to close those gaps. You’ll need to determine how much closing them will cost, which today’s people analytics technology can help you do, and also get budgetary approval. Act on the plan, giving raises to the people you’ve identified, and measure pay equity over time. Meanwhile, determine the root causes of pay inequity to prevent recurrences. Repeat the APAM process as needed.

“Prioritize shrinking the biggest gaps affecting the most people,” says Brent Weiss, senior director, product management, ADP DataCloud, ADP. “Then, examine where you’re seeing some of these gaps. Can you tie them to a specific manager or set of managers, a few departments or a couple of locations? If left unchecked, these root causes of pay inequity could put the pay gaps right back where they were.”

How does pay transparency affect gender inequality?

Pay transparency laws, a growing compliance requirement, help reduce inequalities by revealing employer compensation. In turn, candidates can negotiate pay based on publicly available information about a job’s salary, wage or benefits.

A data-driven pay transparency strategy begins with compliance. First, understand the pay transparency laws, if any, wherever you do business. For example, are you required to post pay ranges in job descriptions or provide pay ranges to candidates only when they ask? You’ll need reliable pay data to inform these communications and to adjust pay as it changes across jobs, geographic locations and your industry. And even if you aren’t legally required to be pay-transparent, research suggests your employees want you to be if you want to be seen as an employer of choice or a company with a strong employer brand.

“Pay transparency means you must pay close attention to your pay practices and strategies,” says Amin Venjara, general manager, data solutions, ADP. “The pay range you choose to put in a job posting is not just about attracting new candidates but also retaining existing ones. A proactive approach to pay practices can ensure you have all stakeholders involved.”

Get the resources you need to address pay transparency

How does generative AI affect gender inequality?

Generative AI tools have burst onto the technology scene and optimized how people work and create. While generally a helpful resource for today’s busy workers, they may inadvertently enable gender inequality in the workplace. Occasionally, the tools produce gendered language and images that warrant further review and consideration.

Use the three C’s — consider, check, continue — every time you prompt a generative AI tool. First, consider the outputs’ language or photos. Do they include perspectives from, or imagery of, more than one gender group? Second, check the information. Is it accurate and comprehensive? Can you add third-party sources to boost its credibility? After these two steps, continue as planned, being mindful of any changes made to the output later. If tweaks are made, repeat the process.

ADP’s commitment to data-driven gender equality

ADP helps organizations address gender inequality in the workplace by offering data-driven diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I) resources, products and services. It also considers the potential workplace outcomes of current trends and technologies, such as pay transparency and generative AI, to help facilitate that goal.

Additionally, ADP is a commitment-maker for the UN Generation Equality Forum’s Technology and Innovation for Gender Equality Action Coalition. Through this partnership, ADP has committed to enabling DE&I outcomes for women and girls in technology by:

  • Offering ADP DataCloud, which empowers HR and business leaders to create more diverse, equitable and inclusive workplaces by helping them answer important DE&I questions
  • Offering through ADP Recruiting Management and ADP Workforce Now a candidate relevancy tool, which relies on AI to help mitigate gender biases during recruitment
  • Issuing through the ADP Research Institute® (ADPRI) research on pay equity, inclusion and other DE&I-related topics
  • Delivering DE&I programming to ADP clients and the human capital management (HCM) market in general – for example, Women@Work 2023 and Inclusion Summit 2022
  • Offering unconscious bias training for all ADP associates
  • Acting to provide a more diverse, inclusive and equitable workplace and aiding the advancement of women to leadership positions at ADP locations around the globe.

Find out more about ADP’s commitments.

This article originally appeared on SPARK powered by ADP.

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