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PayScale Research Shows Workplace Sponsors Have the Power to Help Close the Gender Pay Gap, Especially for Women of Color

New report indicates that employers should address unconscious bias to ensure women of color advance in their careers at the same rate as white men. Findings show that black women with black sponsors make 11.3 percent less than black women with white sponsors.

Seattle, WA – July 31, 2019 – Today, PayScale, Inc., the leader in modern compensation data and software, issued a new report Sponsors: Valuable Allies that Not Everyone Has. The just-released findings signal a call to action for companies to recognize and address the unconscious bias that exists in most organizations where white, male leaders sponsor or advocate for “people like themselves,” meaning other white males. As a result of this human bias, female employees—and particularly female employees of color—are left behind when it comes to compensation.

 

“Our new report shines a light on the fact that white, male leaders should actively look for opportunities to advocate for people who don’t look like them. Human bias is entrenched in the workplace and sponsorship programs that don’t address it will result in the continued prevalence of primarily white, male leadership on our nation’s boards and executive teams,” advised PayScale Director Wendy Brown. “Sponsorship programs can be an important component of landing higher-paying management jobs, so it’s critical for companies to have a formalized plan to ensure women of color have equal access to sponsors who will advocate for them when decisions are being made about career advancement and pay raises.”

Additional findings from PayScale’s “Sponsors: Valuable Allies that Not Everyone Has” report:

 

  • Having a sponsor pays:
    • Overall, there is a “Sponsorship Premium:” those who have a sponsor are paid 11.6 percent more than those who do not.
    • For men, the “Sponsorship Premium” is even higher: 12.3 percent compared to women at 10.2 percent.

 

  • The gender of your sponsor matters:
    • Females who have female sponsors make 14.6 percent less than females who have male sponsors.
    • Males who have female sponsors make 8.7 percent less than males who have male sponsors.

 

  • Black and Hispanic women are least likely to have sponsors:
    • At least 60 percent of respondents overall said they have an advocate at work; however, only 55 percent of black and Hispanic women reported having an advocate.
    • For comparison, 62.5 percent of white men reported having an advocate in the workplace.

 

  • Women of color who have sponsors of the same race/ethnicity tend to have lower pay than women of color who have a white sponsor:
    • Black women who have black sponsors make 11.3 percent less than those who have white sponsors.
    • Hispanic women with Hispanic sponsors make 15.5 percent less than Hispanic women with white sponsors.

 

“We can’t want better diversity without disrupting the patterns that already exist,” said Amelia Ransom, Senior Director of Engagement and Diversity at Avalara. “Leaders should proactively ask about people they don’t hear much about. Don’t just tell me about the rock stars who already exist, tell me about the ones you’re creating—particularly those who are underrepresented.”

According to the Harvard Law School Forum on Corporate Governance and Financial Regulation Missing Pieces Report, “1,033 board seats were filled by directors new to Fortune 500 boards (i.e., those not present on boards in the 2016 census). Of those 1,033 board seats, 80.7 percent were filled by Caucasian/white directors, with 59.6 percent filled by Caucasian/white men.”

In addition to employers taking action, women can be proactive in seeking out people in positions of influence who may not look like them, but who may also be able to make their business-impacting accomplishments more widely known. A separate Harvard Business Review report shows that when minorities advocate for fellow minorities, they are often either dismissed or categorized as “racist” for advocating for people of color who look like them.  Black women often choose other black women to act as their advocates, but research shows that this approach may not lead to career advancement—a result that, in the technology sector, has caused many women to leave the industry all together.

PayScale will be hosting a Black Women’s Equal Pay Day event at their Seattle headquarters on August 15, 2019, in partnership with Lean In Seattle, Mercer and the Women’s Funding Alliance’s 100% Talent initiative to help inform, educate and continue this important conversation. Black Women’s Equal Pay Day is the approximate day a black woman must work into 2019 to make the same amount as a white man earned in 2018.

More details about the event can be found here:  https://www.eventbrite.com/e/black-womens-equal-pay-day-tickets-64954507681. PayScale will also host an event in November 2019, with the same set of partners, to recognize Latina Equal Pay Day.

For the full report, “Sponsorships: Valuable Allies Not Everyone Has,” please visit:  https://www.payscale.com/data/mentorship-sponsorship-benefits 

 

 

About PayScale:

PayScale offers modern compensation software and the most precise, real-time, data-driven insights for employees and employers alike. More than 8,000 customers, from small businesses to Fortune 500 companies, use PayScale to power pay decisions for more than 23 million employees. These companies include Encana, Patagonia, The New York Times, Sunsweet, T-Mobile, United Health Group, Wendy's and Perry Ellis. For more information, please visit: https://www.payscale.com/ or follow PayScale on Twitter: https://twitter.com/payscale.

Press Contact:

Phyllis McNeice
Email: phyllis@fireflycmns.com
Tel: 206-954-1481

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