I was born in India, the youngest of 3 children and was fortunate to have always been treated equally to my siblings. So, I never knew that gender bias existed until I completed my master’s degree and got into professional work.
Early in my career, I worked for a company where I felt that there was a difference when it came to gender. A female colleague coming back from maternity leave was given a lower performance rating and a minimal compensation increase, which I found to be absurd. This case really posed questions in my mind of why there was this differentiation?
At the same company, women and men were evaluated differently when hiring for the same role. In one instance, the woman applying had taken a break of two years after having a child. She was offered compensation much lower than a counterpart who was doing the same role. After this experience, I began to question many things as I felt that it would happen to me eventually and I would not like to be treated in an unfair manner. I tried influencing leadership but alas! I was not successful, and I decided to part ways.
Since then, I have worked at companies that were far more balanced in terms of gender equality and fairness of pay, and I’m proud to now be working at Schneider Electric.
Whilst I took up my role based on the job itself, the great people, and the meaningful work we do here, one aspect which is very close to my heart is the fact that Schneider cares about “Fair Pay” for all. As the Global Rewards and Benefits leader, this is something that was very important to me.
Equal pay for equal work is a core component of Schneider’s reward philosophy, guided by the principles of fairness, consistency, and greater transparency. We apply a multi-pronged, holistic approach to creating a sustainable culture of fair pay. This means we use our globally applied fair pay framework to ensure fair pay during hiring, promotions, during pay review, and more for our approximately 130,000 employees in over 100 countries.
In my experience as an employee, I find Schneider to be extremely fair when it comes to equality and gender, and I have never felt any kind of a bias being a female. I have seen that equal opportunities have been given to me when it came to a role change. This is truly heartening to observe and experience.
Schneider has reinforced its commitment to pay equity, committing to obtain and maintain a pay gap below 1% by 2025 for both females and males.
To support this commitment, and improve transparency and inclusion, we’ve adopted an updated methodology. In simplest terms, the new methodology allows us to take our pay equity journey past focusing solely on gender, but expanding to all facets of our diverse, unique workforce.
Additionally, we’ve built focus around eliminating pay gaps before they occur, by educating and training leaders, managers, and HR teams on unconscious bias, pay equity and fairness. For oversight and consistency, we established governance at the country level for HR and leaders to review progress.
A Not Yet Completed Journey
Over the past five years, we’ve taken proactive actions to close pay gaps and prevent new gaps from being created. All the while we’re continuing to further our commitments to fair pay. We’ve made progress towards our ambition, but there’s still much work to be done.
By taking a multi-pronged approach, spanning compensation policies, education, and awareness. All these efforts support our ambition to become the most inclusive and caring company in the world, by continuing to move the needle in the right direction. And we can be proud of that. I am especially.
About the Author
Lipika Verma is the Vice President of Rewards & Performance Innovation & Thought Leadership at Schneider Electric. She is responsible for the overall rewards strategy for Schneider globally and leads the “Centre of Expertise” for Total Rewards & Performance function. During her career, she has received multiple awards at national and international level in areas of Total Rewards and Wellbeing. She has been conferred with the Global Compensation & Benefits Leader Award in 2017. Lipika has also been conferred the Transforming Leadership certificate from INSEAD, Paris.
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