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Content courtesy of Global News

The average salary increases given to men this year were nearly double the amounts received by women, a new survey has found.

The survey of more than 4,000 small- and medium-sized businesses by Toronto-based HR software company Humi found the average salary increase women working for small- and medium-sized businesses saw in 2021 was 5.3 per cent, while men received a 10.3 per cent salary increase.

“As scary as this stat is in 2021, the numbers were also pretty bleak in 2020,” said Andrea Bartlett, Humi’s human resources director.

That year, Humi found the average monthly salary for a woman was anywhere from $1,000 to $2,000 less than what men earned and men were about 10.7 per cent more likely to get a boost than women.

In 2021, there was a slight improvement. Men were 4.4 per cent more likely to receive a raise than women, Humi found.

The disparity in pay raises at small- and medium-sized businesses over the last year was the latest pain in a “she-cession” that economists say has left women underpaid, overworked and often shut out of job opportunities.

They’ve warned that droves of women have left the workforce over the course of the pandemic with many attributing their departure to uneven parenting responsibilities, a lack of flexibility in their job and layoffs.

 

 

They say the pandemic exacerbated inequality in a labour market already known for paying women 89 cents for every dollar made by a man and long derided for its “motherhood penalty” — a term used to describe the ways women who have children are treated by employers.About 1.5 million Canadian women lost their jobs in the first two months of the pandemic and 45 per cent of women in the country experienced a decline in hours worked, the Royal Bank of Canada said last July.“Women have had to scale back their careers,” said Bartlett.

“The loss of women in the workplace this pandemic has created is only exacerbating the pay gap.”


READ MORE: Women earn less than men in Canada right after graduation — then it gets worse: report


Her report says the difference between how men and women are compensated at small- and medium-sized businesses may be fuelled by corporate power structures, the style in which people negotiate and the lack of women in executive and other leadership roles.

Humi found only 21 per cent of respondents have women in C-suite positions.

“There’s certainly enough information that shows that when women are in leadership positions, it’s not only a more inclusive workplace, but it also does tend to change the trends of compensation distribution and equitable compensation processes between female and male employees,” Bartlett said.

Adding to the problem is the fact that half of the survey respondents say they don’t have equity, diversity and inclusion plans.

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This disappointed Bartlett because she sees such plans as being the bare minimum companies can do to promote diversity and she hoped their interest in upping equity would be higher a year after George Floyd, a Black man in Minneapolis, was killed in police custody, bringing global attention to systemic racism.

It also came three years after the birth of the MeToo movement, when women started coming forward with sexual misconduct allegations against powerful men.

“It can be daunting to think about an equity, diversity and inclusion strategy, let alone policy but…it doesn’t mean that companies can’t start small,” Bartlett said.

Once they get into the rhythm of addressing these issues, they can tackle bigger policies that could address equity like parental leave.

Humi found 64 per cent of survey respondents said their company does not offer a maternity and paternity leave policy above the Employment Standards Act requirements.

For companies that provide some sort of top up, almost half are offering just slightly above the act’s requirement, which equates to a salary top up between 10 and 25 per cent.

 


Ten tips to promote inclusive hiring and enhanced belonging in your workforce

  1. Follow inclusive hiring practices such as providing salary bands (with a fair and progressive salary that matches the requirements/education needed in the position), work benefits, and providing hiring accommodations where required.
  2. Demonstrate executive leadership commitment to gender equality and diversity at all levels of your organization.
  3. Create a sense of belonging for under-represented workers who may feel alone in their workplace and recognize where unconscious bias might be influencing decisions. Work to fix these challenges. Don’t give up.
  4. Develop a strong female hiring pipeline from early career to executive level.
  5. Encourage, value, and supports flexible working arrangements.
  6. Provide fair and accessible formal and informal avenues to address any concerns of discrimination.
  7. Enhance opportunities for women’s inclusion from the supply chain through to decision-making at all levels.
  8. Follow the “see it to believe it” approach and ensure branding, marketing, and communications are consistently free from bias and enhance a sense of belonging, especially for those who are frequently under-represented (BIPOC).
  9. Look for opportunities to increase external support of women’s advancement by networking and promoting your employment opportunities where diverse communities live, work, and play (Especially by sharing to diverse networks).
  10. Carefully plan and monitor progress and outcomes from your equality initiatives and activities and set goals to improve results each year.

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Women in Biz Network (WIBN) is known for leveling up leadership, business, and career success of professional and entrepreneurial women with results-based mentorship and peer-to-peer coaching.  Programs and services include a prominent advisory board of 12+ mentors ready to service the WIBN Community. In 2020, WIBN launched a vetted career board where employers looking to share their progressive job opportunities are coached on the pillars of advancing gender equality.  Each WIBN client is also provided with an overview of inclusive hiring practices. With a strong demand to support diversity and inclusion in workplaces a sister company, Bee Happy HR – Your Diverse Talent Hive was created by founder Leigh Mitchell to meet the needs of HR and business communities with diversity-driven employer branding and recruitment services. Clients report success with increasing a sense of belonging within their workplaces resulting in profitable, happy, and engaged workforces powering our global and local economies. Connect with us at #beehappyhr and #womenbiznetwork across your favourite social media channels. Book a discovery call with myself or Sara Bibb via our online booking calendar.

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