One idea for eliminating America’s gender-wage disparity is to have formal reviews of a company’s entire payroll. The thinking is that if employers did an internal audit analyzing their pay data by gender, they’d be able to see a gender gap—which would compel them to take action.
That’s what happened at the company Salesforce last year, when the company did an internal audit and subsequently spent $3 million on adjusting pay. It’s also the aspiration of new equal-pay rules from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, under which companies with 100 employees or more must report payroll data to the federal government, broken down by race, gender, and ethnicity.
One company’s policies take all this a step further, cutting out the existence of any sort of external or formal review: Buffer, a tech startup, already provides a list—available to the public—of its whole staff and how much money each employee makes. The company recently analyzed its pay data to see if there’s a gender gap. “We often are asked ... how our transparent pay affects the gender wage gap,” explains Courtney Seiter, who is in charge of Buffer’s diversity efforts.
Buffer’s internal analysis found a median salary of $92,698 for their employees, with the median for men (including its founders) at $95,631 and for women at $86,423. That means Buffer’s women are earning 90 cents for every dollar the men earn. That’s roughly half of the national gender gap. It’s worth noting that the gender pay gap is noticeably smaller for women in tech generally, and that Buffer’s gap is close to the gap Claudia Goldin, a leading researcher on women and work at Harvard University, found for tech workers in the U.S.