Gender discrimination and inequalities present themselves in many ways—harassment, belittling of skills, bias…. None are acceptable, and all must be addressed. That includes pay gaps between men and women, which too often still exist in organizations and societies around the world.
It seems like such a no-brainer: that everyone, regardless of whether they are female or male, should receive equal pay for equal work; and that employees should be rewarded fairly and equitably for the skillset they possess and the contributions they make.
And yet, as a woman professional in a male-dominated industry, I myself have experienced pay equity issues at various times in my career. And many of you probably have too, in some form or another.
I recall, for example, discussions at one of my previous employers about bonus payments. Some of the senior management felt that women who had been away on maternity leave should not be entitled to a bonus as they hadn’t contributed as much as their male counterparts. An attitude that perhaps wasn’t that unusual back then…. but it shocked me to the core because, in my mind, it should not have been a question in the first place.
Using a multi-pronged approach towards fair pay
Thankfully, many organizations have woken up to the need to address unfair pay gaps and move towards pay equity.
Research also supports fair pay as a business imperative, showing that companies with effective pay equity strategies are more likely to meet or exceed financial targets, attract the talent they need, and innovate effectively.
I joined Schneider Electric in 2011, and I’m extremely proud of the progress we’ve made since we started working on this topic in earnest about nine years ago.
We want not only to close pay gaps, but to avoid new ones from being created. That’s why we have set a clear target to attain and maintain a pay gap below 1% for both females and males by 2025.
To achieve that, we’ve taken a multi-pronged, holistic approach to creating a sustainable culture of fair pay for all which means we take fair pay into consideration not only during hiring but also when promoting or when conducting pay review. This global pay equity framework has been successfully adopted across all countries of operation, covering all our employees.
In concrete terms, this means:
- We have a unified global-local methodology to address pay gaps, ensuring consistency while also adapting to the local market conditions.
- Our managers and HR professionals have been trained on how to make equitable pay decisions and avoid bias.
- We commit to hiring at equitable levels based on role and experience, regardless of gender.
- In 2023, a great innovation for us has been the launch of a “Fair Pay Simulator Tool” which provides broader, real-time visibility into pay gap data – helping managers, HR, and recruiters to make fair and competitive offers to potential candidates. It also enables informed compensation decisions during the promotion or role change process of an employee.
The journey has not been easy, and there’s still a long way to go as we have the ambition to achieve a 50:40:30 gender balance (i.e., women should represent 50% of all new hires, 40% of all frontline managers, and 30% of senior leadership) by 2025.
But our efforts have not gone unnoticed, and we are proud of that. In 2023, Schneider has been named as a ‘Lighthouse’ in Diversity, Equity & Inclusion by the World Economic Forum (WEF) for advancing pay equity and fostering an inclusive and caring work environment.
Learn more about what we have done and will continue to work on in WEF’s Global Parity Alliance DEI Lighthouse report (page 31).
Are you interested in career at Schneider Electric? Check out our website for more information and for available positions to take your career journey to the next level. www.se.com/careers
About the author
Karine Armand-Fedida, SVP Total Rewards & Performance, Schneider Electric
Karine is a global HR executive and people leader with a breadth of experiences gained in various multinationals across sectors for over 25 years.
She is passionate about Digital and Talent Transformations, Rewards, Performance & Employee Engagement, M&A, Diversity & Inclusion, Wellbeing, Sustainable Development, Communication, Ethics & Compliance, Leadership, and Risk Management.