What is Pay Equity?
Pay equity is equal pay for work of equal value.
Historically, women and men tend to work in a narrow range of traditional jobs – this is called “job clustering”. Traditional female jobs typically employ skills that women have used in nurturing their families and managing their homes and are often times undervalued and underpaid.
Pay equity seeks to address this pay inequity so that jobs traditionally done by women that are of comparable value to jobs traditionally done by men, with the same employer, be paid the same rate.
"At a grocery store, an employer may not have valued the effort
of female cashiers who over the course of a work shift may
have lifted the equivalent amount of produce and groceries as
male stockroom attendants who lift and organize produce and
It’s important to note that having a 0% wage gap does not necessarily mean a workplace has pay equity if for example there is still job clustering at the workplace.
What’s the difference between pay equity and wage gap?
Wage Gap is the difference between the average wages earned by men and the average wages earned by women.
Pay Equity is equal pay for work of equal value.
Although the terms wage gap and pay equity are frequently used interchangeably, they are not the same thing. However, they both relate to the same concern, that is the gap in earnings between men and women.
Pay equity addresses one of the three contributors to the wage gap, that is the under-valuation of traditional female occupations. To achieve pay equity, employers need to assess all jobs for their value, and then assign equal wages for jobs of equal value.
What’s involved in a pay equity process?
A pay equity process evaluates jobs by comparing work mostly or traditionally done by women to work mostly or traditionally done by men.
Jobs are traditionally evaluated using four factors:
- Effort Required
- Working Conditions
If the female and male jobs are of comparable value, then they should be paid the same rate.
Does your workplace have pay equity?
To find out, employers should ask themselves the following questions.
- Are positions paid according to their value, based on the level of skill, effort, responsibility, and working conditions?
- Are employees paid using established pay scales?
- Does your workplace have job descriptions for the different types of positions?
- Does your workplace monitor the number and proportion of women and men in each job class?
- If your company previously completed a pay equity evaluation, have you maintained your plan?
If you’ve answered “No” to any of these questions, you may be interested in learning more about how addressing pay equity can benefit the workplace.