While nearly three-quarters of U.S. executives (74 per cent) and workers (71 per cent) agree pay equity is a top priority, employees say there’s more work to be done on the issue, according to a new survey by the Harvard Business Review and human resources consultancy UKG.
The survey, which polled more than 3,000 employees and 450 executives, found just 41 per cent of workers said their employer has successfully achieved pay equity, while another 26 per cent said their employer has been “completely successful” in establishing equal pay for equal work.
Half (49 per cent) of executives said they don’t have a well established pay equity plan in place and roughly a quarter (24 per cent) of employees aren’t aware whether such a plan exists within their organizations. Nearly half (46 per cent) of employers said they aren’t transparent in the area of pay equity and 34 per cent of employees said this lack of transparency is a major obstacle to implementing equal pay.
Read: How employers can leverage pay transparency to achieve pay equity
A third (32 per cent) of employees said they’re unwilling to speak up or negotiate, a percentage that increased among Black (40 per cent) and Asian (34 per cent) employees, while just 28 per cent of Hispanic employees said they wouldn’t speak up.
More than a third (35 per cent) of Black employees attributed discrimination in opportunities for advancement as a major factor in pay equity disparities, followed by 26 per cent of Asian employees and 20 per cent of Hispanic employees. Similarly, 32 per cent of Black workers and 25 per cent of Asian and Hispanic employees cited discrimination in salaries or hourly pay rates.
Executives said the majority of their company’s pay equity efforts are directed at women (59 per cent), people of colour (55 per cent), ethnic minorities (45 per cent), members of the LGBTQ2S+ community (33 per cent) and those with disabilities (23 per cent). Two-fifths (40 per cent) of white male employees agreed their employer has succeeded in establishing pay equity for all employee groups, compared to just 25 per cent of women, 23 per cent of Black women, 22 per cent of Hispanic men and 16 per cent of Asian women.
When asked who’s responsible for enacting changes in pay equity, nearly half (47 per cent) of executives said it was the responsibility of the chief HR officer, followed by the chief executive officer (39 per cent), a senior executive team member (32 per cent) and the chief diversity officer (eight per cent). By comparison, 37 per cent of employees said the CEO should oversee pay equity initiatives, while just six per cent said it’s the responsibility of the CHRO.
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