We recently spoke with an organisation that wanted to improve on gender balance, but was reticent to conduct a pay audit – for fear of what they might find and therefore open themselves up to liability. With this disappointing exchange in mind, we were then heartened to read about Chris Cabrera, the CEO of Xactly, a cloud platform that manages the incentive compensation initiatives for more than 700 customers. Using the big data this afforded them, Xactly compiled nine years worth of sales compensation data to highlight the wider issue: the gender favouritism in employee pay that often goes against actual performance. To no one surprise, they made some staggering discoveries when mining the compensation data of 700 companies.
As Cabrera explains in Talent Management : “Not only were men being paid more, on average, women were actually performing higher — making their sales quota three percent more often than their male counterparts. Seeing this data made me wonder if this could be happening right here at Xactly, and I was shocked to see it was. There were a small number of employees, both female and male sales representatives, who were being paid incorrectly based on their performance. Within days of receiving this information, I had worked with our HR and accounting teams to get this corrected.”
Equal pay is a tricky topic for many companies; particularly those who suspect there may be inequities they’d rather not recognise. However, ignoring the issue and refusing to conduct an internal pay audit will not protect organisations as ‘I didn’t know’ is not a plausible excuse. We hope to see more leaders like Cabrera ask the tricky questions of themselves, and rectify an unfair situation as needed.