Many states have recently adopted laws that require companies of all sizes to close the gender pay gap. The principle underlying these laws is simple: Pay men and women based on their contributions to the work being performed without regard to gender.
However, for employers trying to comply with these laws—while acquiring and retaining top talent—the devil is in the details: Complying is not as straightforward as the principle behind the new requirements.
Research confirms men and women negotiate differently. And a persistent wage gap ensures that new hires arrive at the front door with expectations that differ from those of tenured employees. In a bullish market when wages inflate, how does a company both minimize differences with the external market—to keep up with the free agent market—and ensure it doesn’t do so in a way that favors external men or disfavors internal women?