According to a study from LendEDU, the most-recent data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics places the country’s gender pay gap at 20.31%.
That figure means median annual female earnings in the US are 79.69% of median annual male earnings — or 79.69 cents on the dollar.
The stat is not great. Ideally, there would be no gender pay gap at all. However, the gap is narrowing; that same LendEDU study found the gender pay gap in 2010 was 22.46%. So, over the course of almost a decade, the nation was able to shrink its gender pay gap by 2.14 percentage points. While it should be closing at a faster rate, at least it’s moving in the right direction.
The staffing industry has a unique opportunity to continue pushing the gender pay gap in the right direction until its completely closed.
That’s because in many instances, it’s staffing professionals who are acting as intermediaries between employers and employees. They are there for the salary negotiations and can hold significant leverage over employers if they are working with highly desirable employees.
To help minimize the gender pay gap in this country, staffing companies can start launching programs that incentivize employers to hire female candidates and pay them just as much as they pay males for equivalent jobs.
For example, let’s say a staffing company is working with a company to hire a developer. To help encourage the shrinking of the gender pay gap, that staffing company can offer a discounted rate to the employer if the employer hires a female for the job and provides compensation that is identical to what men at the company are making for the same role.
If there are no men in the company working the same role, the company can still earn the discount from the staffing agency by offering the woman a salary that is equal to the industry standard for men.
While this could slightly impact the bottom line for the staffing company, the work they are doing to help shrink the country’s gender pay gap is priceless. Additionally, staffing companies that gain a reputation for launching such a program may see business increase as more female candidates head to them to help land a job after hearing about the program.
They could also see more employers coming to them if those employers are actively trying to shrink the pay gap through their own internal initiatives.
When it comes to shrinking the gender pay gap in the US, a national effort from all sectors of the economy is required. As it happens, staffing companies are in a unique position to spearhead that effort.