Editorial

“It’s just not that hard” — Sallie Krawcheck on closing the gender pay gap

The topic of gender pay gap seems so 1980s, and yet here we are earnings 82% (in US, in 2017) of what men earn for the same labor. 

This means that it would take 47 additional days for women to earn what men did in 2017, according to Pew Research. (Read the full report here for more upsetting pay gap statistics.)

And since those statistics still exist, people like Sallie Krawcheck — who some call the most powerful woman on Wall Street — are still seen addressing the issue to various audiences. Last week, that audience gathered in Las Vegas, Nevada for “Money 20/20”, one of the largest fintech events in the US.

But while the topic may seem somewhat beaten, Krawcheck’s message to CEOs and hiring managers everywhere was surprisingly refreshing: addressing the gender gap is just not that hard. 

“Research tells us that women are not getting promoted,” she said. In addition, women start with a lower salary compared to male hires. “It may not be [the employer’s] fault, as men are more likely to negotiate coming in. It’s the human nature that tells us what to do.”

Lower entry salary and the lower likelihood of getting promoted results in women seemingly “falling out” of their careers much earlier than men, according to Krawcheck. Closing the pay gap, plain and simple, would result in longer-term employment for female employees and a better image for the company overall. 

“Millennials in particular are looking at who you are as a company before doing business with you,” Krawcheck said. “Forget all the diversity groups, mentoring and sponsorships; that’s just busy work in many cases,” and instead hire women and pay them a fair salary, she said. She highlighted SalesForce and MasterCard as companies that have been successful in addressing the gender pay gap issue.

Krawcheck — who has held numerous high-level positions at large financial institutions — currently runs an investment startup, Ellevest. The startup aims to “close the gender investing gap,” according to the company website.

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