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Want to Further Gender Equality at Work? Do These 3 Things

Pay equity is a crucial part of gender equality. Here’s how we achieve it at Zillow Group.

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BY Spencer Rascoff - 10 Apr 2018

Want to Further Gender Equality at Work? Do These 3 Things

PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images

Today is Equal Pay Day. It falls on April 10 because it takes women a year, three months, and 10 days to earn the same amount of money as a man makes in one year, according to 2016 U.S. Census Data.

The date changes based on subgroups and ethnicities. For all women, it's April 10. For moms compared to dads, it's May 30. For black women, it's August 7. For Latinas, it's November 1--nearly a full year longer, since they earn $0.54 for every dollar a man earns. I learned this at EqualPayToday.Org, and it saddened me.

At Zillow Group, Equal Pay Day is December 31 of the same year. That's because women make $1.01 for every dollar a man makes--and we're committed to advancing equal pay more broadly as participants in The White House Equal Pay Pledge and the Equal Pay Pledge on Glassdoor.

But our pay equity work doesn't stop at gender. As we've seen from the differences in the dates I just listed, we must also consider other factors that can contribute to inequality. Our pay equity work considers data across multiple variables, and we check our pay equity rates twice a year to ensure we are still upholding our commitment to creating an equitable workplace; equal pay is just one part of that commitment.

I don't just see equal pay as a competitive advantage in recruiting. I see it as the right thing to do, which is why I want to share a few of our practices to help more companies close the gender pay gap:

1. We don't require candidates to disclose prior salaries.

A few months ago, we made the decision to remove salary questions from our pre-screening conversations with potential candidates--even in offices where there aren't state and/or municipal bans on the inquiry. Unsurprisingly, this introduces bias into hiring, but we overlooked this for a long time because it was just always something you did when recruiting a candidate.

It turns out that asking about salary is a loaded question--something a federal appeals court agreed with on Monday, when it ruled that using prior wages as justification for paying women less than men was a violation of the Equal Pay Act. You not only inherit pay inequities from previous employers, but you also introduce negotiating expertise into a salary discussion (which, according to research, often favors men).

2. We're working to train for bias and use technology to address what inevitably seeps through.

Everyone has bias, even those who are extremely self-aware, so we use training and software to mitigate it. All managers and interviewers are required to go through Unconscious Bias Training, and Textio, an augmented writing software, screens all our job descriptions to flag and correct words that could discourage some candidates from applying.

Words like "rock star" and "tackle" are shown to reduce women applicants, but there are also subtle nuances Textio has helped us with. For example, men statistically apply more often when you write "you will manage a team" in a job post, and women are more likely to apply when you put "you will develop a team."

However, if you say "you will lead a team," you attract both genders. Since we introduced Textio, we've seen 12 percent more women in our overall applicant pool compared with the previous year.

3. We're working to ensure our interview loops have gender diversity.

We mined our hiring data and found some telling insights on how the gender mix on the interview loop influences hiring. On business function (meaning non-technical roles like marketing and legal) interview loops comprised entirely of men, we hired women 34 percent of the time. When those loops included at least one woman, we hired women 48 percent of the time.

In our tech organization, all-male interview loops resulted in hiring women just 14 percent of the time. When we added at least one woman to the loop, that number jumped to 40 percent.

We're learning a lot as a company as we continue on this journey, and I know we have a lot more to learn. The pay gap exists, but it's narrowing, particularly in younger generations, and we will eventually eradicate it completely in the United States with the combination of awareness, policies and the changing fabric of corporate culture.

But don't wait for your organization to implement policies around pay equity. Start with your individual actions and see what you can influence.