Women in tech

SAP exec Jennifer Morgan on the company’s approach to fixing the wage gap

SAP spent $1 million last year to level the playing field for women (and men).

Jennifer Morgan (center) visiting SAP Asia. (Courtesy photo)’s Editorial Calendar explores a different topic each month. The August 2017 topic is women in tech.

Wage inequality is one of the top issues flagged by women in tech.

Some reports have found women are underpaid by up to 29 percent in tech roles, but that’s also part of a bigger narrative: the Census Bureau found women made 79 cents on the dollar versus their male counterparts.

So when enterprise software SAP did a review of its salary structure, it unsurprisingly found itself needing to level the playing field. It reportedly spent $1 million to correct salary structures but what surprised the company’s North America president, Jennifer Morgan, was that looking at wage equality wouldn’t only help women.

“One false assumption I had was that the inequity would be only around women,” Morgan said in a Wall Street Journal interview published Monday. “I had an unconscious bias, and this process really opened my eyes to that. What we found is that the inequalities existed, and 70% of it was for females—but 30% were with males. (…) It was just eye opening because it’s a gender-equity issue, but many times it’s just an equality issue.”

SAP is a German company with a sprawling U.S. headquarters in Newtown Square, Pa. There, it employs about 3,000 technologists. Morgan said for a company the size of SAP, it can be challenging to keep an eye out for issues like this.

We learned a lot from this pay-equity analysis and have incorporated what we learned across our compensation practices to ensure equitable pay. However, we are a growing, dynamic organization and even small inequities can crop up over time, so this is something we have to be constantly vigilant on.

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Locally, companies like SEO-focused marketing agency SEER Interactive have deployed salary transparency policies, spearheaded by Emily Allen, Director of People Operations.

Companies: SAP
Projects: Women in Tech Month 2017

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