Compensation Round-Up: JLaw’s Gender Wage Gap, Transparency, and RIP Annual Raises


Welcome to the Compensation Round-up, where we bring to you the hottest news in comp! Sample what’s happening in compensation right now, get in the know and grab some conversation starters. This week’s topics: JLaw’s Gender Wage Gap, Transparency, and RIP Annual Raises.

The Brat Complex—JLaw Pipes Up About Gender Wage Gap

The Low Down: Jennifer Lawrence, Hollywood It Girl and The Hunger Games star gave her two cents on being paid less than her male co-stars and how fear of being a spoiled little brat has kept her from taking her place at the negotiating table.

Poor Little Rich Girl? Not quite. Since the beginning of her rise, JLaw has been herself—goofy, strong and unexpected—challenging Hollywood’s ideal glam girl image. She immediately owns that her problems are not quite relatable, most of us only co-star with Bradley Cooper in our dreams or give our Oscar acceptance speeches in the shower, but she still feels the burden of being a woman in a male dominated industry. Proving even starlets let fears of being unlikeable, difficult or spoiled prevent them from negotiating wages or demanding equal pay—even when the movie would be a total flop without them.

So, J Law is awesome, but what’s the significance? Recent scandals like the Sony Hack—revealing the inequities to JLaw and solidifying her assumptions that negotiating may lead to her being viewed as a “spoiled brat”—and Google’s spreadsheet leak combined with the up-rise of Sheryl Sandberg’s ‘Lean-In’, the issue of pay inequality continues to gain significant media attention. These recent spotlights highlight the importance of using a level of wage transparency to help close the gender wage gap. After all, if you’re not talking about pay, chances are your employees are.

RIP, Annual Raises

The Lowdown: Not planning on giving annual raises this year? You’re not alone. The consulting firm Towers Watson, found that for the 5th year in a row, the employee bonus pool will look like an abandoned hotel pool—drained and neglected.

The death of the annual raise and the rise of the bonus. As we bury the annual raise, we see the bonus ascend into the corporate universe—replacing the raise with incentives to perform at a high level.

So, how do you compete? Well, Dan Walter, CEO of Performensation, argues that to stay competitive, maybe you just need to keep your annual raises. If everyone else is scrapping them, imagine if you were the only ones still guaranteeing them? But then again, imagine if you were the only ones still guaranteeing them! Will you be left behind and not motivating employees to perform at their best ability? Something to chew on…

Groundbreaking PayScale Study Reveals Employees Value This More Than Dollars

The Low Down: Fair pay, equitable pay, pay equality…we’ve heard it all lately. Employees are crying out against the unfairness of it all. It turns out that most employees have no idea whether or not they’re being paid fairly! Even if you have their pay right, employees won’t know that it is fair unless you talk about it.

Let’s talk about comp, baby: A PayScale survey of 71,000 employees revealed that a top predictor of employee satisfaction and intent to leave, was the company’s willingness to talk comp. Open and honest communication regarding one’s pay is more important than the actual dollar amount than they’re paid!

Wait, what? What people believe about what they are paid and the reality of what they are paid are often very different things. PayScale found that the majority—two thirds of people that are paid at or above market rate—think that they’re underpaid! Even if your strategy is spot on and you are paying competitively, if you don’t talk about it, people will assume you’re doing it wrong. Counter to what you may assume, this only gets worse the more you pay people. If you refuse to talk, be ready for employees to walk.

Alrighty, partners. We hope you enjoyed this edition of Compensation Roundup. Be on the lookout for us to rope in more hot news in compensation!

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