Equal Pay Day: What Can You Do?

April 10 is Equal Pay Day, a day dedicated to raising awareness for the gender pay gap. According to research by Pew Research Center, the gender pay gap has narrowed (mostly for younger generations) but still persists and has remained pretty consistent in recent years. In 2017, women earned 82% of what men earned, this is analysis of median hourly earnings of both full- and part-time workers in the United States. Based on this estimate, it would take an extra 47 days of work for women to earn what men did in 2017.

The gender pay gap is real.

So, on a day dedicated to bringing some much deserved attention to pay equity, what can your organization do?

1. Acknowledge It: Companies put so much energy into saying that they don’t discriminate that they often fail to look at the inequity at their own organization. Employer branding efforts can often hinder efforts to address the pay gap when employers try to give the perception that they are something they are not. Companies need to talk about the gender pay gap. Not just in general terms but in very specific, actionable terms that can be translated to their recruiting, development, and retention strategies.
2. Measure It: In research we conducted this year, over 60% of companies have diversity and inclusion programs. Yet, only 1 in 4 companies look at pay equity when they measure the success of these programs. Can’t we do better? Companies should be holding managers accountable, teams accountable, and leadership accountable. They should be measuring pay equity consistently and in a way that is transparent.
3. Communicate It: Companies often want to ignore their own gender pay gaps. If you have some work to do, it is important to communicate with your employees the steps you plan to take and changes that you plan to make. Companies can create awareness through an open dialogue with employees about topics that are relevant.
4. Invest in It: Companies should look at what services are available and how they are using their performance and compensation software to address the gender pay gap.
5. Continue It: Yesterday, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that companies can’t justify a wage differential between men and women based on prior salary. This is a step in the right direction and a commitment to continuing support for equal pay. Companies should not acknowledge the gender pay gap on one day during the year. They must continue to address it.

What is your organization doing to support Equal Pay Day? We would love to hear from you!


  • Madeline Laurano

    Madeline Laurano is the founder and chief analyst of Aptitude Research. For over 18 years, Madeline’s primary focus has been on the HCM market, specializing in talent acquisition and employee experience. Her work helps companies both validate and re-evaluate their strategies and understand the role technology can play in driving business outcomes. She has watched HCM transform from a back-office function to a strategic company initiative with a focus on partnerships, experience and efficiency. Before founding Aptitude Research, Madeline held research roles at Aberdeen, Bersin by Deloitte, ERE Media and Brandon Hall Group. She is the co-author of Best Practices in Leading a Global Workforce and is often quoted in leading business publications including The Wall Street Journal, The Boston Globe, Yahoo News, The New York Times and The Financial Times. She is a frequent presenter at industry conferences including the HR Technology Conference and Exposition, SHRM, IHRIM, HCI’s Strategic Talent Acquisition Conference, Unleash, GDS International’s HCM Summit, and HRO Today. In her spare time, she is a runner, an avid sports fan and juggles a house full of boys (where a spontaneous indoor hockey game is not unheard of!).