By Sophie Anderson, Talent Acquisition Manager at birdie
It’s something you just hear about every so often, isn’t it? ‘The wage gap’. A timeless topic that comes up every few years, only to fall from the news cycle when its been roughly drained of any sensationalism. You could almost believe it’s all been resolved, until it inevitably rears its head once again.
Working in people and talent, the pay disparity between female and male creatives and engineers becomes much more than a passing thought. For a long time it was my everyday reality - the numbers on the page growing further and further apart. Always women at the lower end, and always disproportionately women of colour.
Why does this happen? Despite the best efforts of many organisations to be non-discriminatory when they create the initial role, the cracks start to form around the offer and negotiation stage. Men traditionally push for more money - and the successful ones get it. Women tend to hold back, and accept the salary from the original posting. This trend then continues with promotions - men push, women often hold back. Sadly in many businesses, this is rarely monitored - and therefore the earnings divide continues to grow.
This is obviously not the case for all women/men/genders - there are countless powerful women pushing for promotion, many men shy around negotiation, and all sorts of people in-between doing their best work for fair pay. However it is, without a shadow of a doubt, an overwhelming trend that I struggled daily with for years.
That is why I won’t let it ever happen at Birdie.
We need to see all women growing, developing and thriving - and for these to not just be buzzwords. I want to see the tangible impact I have on hiring, salaries, policies and more - and now, I can excitedly say, we are seeing some real results.
We had 27 promotions last year, 14 were women. In Birdie we had 3 women on the leadership team in April 2021 - now I’m one of 9 women leading teams, and shaping the company. There are 2 women on our Executive committee, soon to be 3 - when I joined this was 5 men.
Our salary grid is completely transparent for everyone, always. This is deliberate - we all know how much everyone is earning, and we can easily create paths to progression. This creates a wonderful culture of natural accountability as well; if everyone knows how much you’re earning, you are more likely to execute on your role appropriately. When everyone does their fair allocated share, amazing things happen.
We still have lots of work to do but I’m so proud of how much we’ve grown in the last 18 months through 2 funding rounds. It is incredible to see how many women have been mentored and actively helped to step up in the company. The support from the co-founders has been consistent, and I’ve learnt so much from amazing women around me - through our growing networks, we’re talking about these topics openly and pushing changes I have never seen in a professional environment.
These discussions have led to our enhanced parental leave (6 months fully paid for the primary care giver, 3 for the secondary). They have also meant we are very conscious around where we are struggling to hire female professionals - in our engineering team for example - has also helped us to actively provide focus to these areas and set out strategies to always do better.
What is the impact of what we’re doing at Birdie, beyond a rather pleasing set of numbers? For me there is one very interesting result. Because everything we’re doing is transparent, not only are we attracting top, motivated talent that aligns with our values - but people are staying with us for longer.
The wage gap is something that most people, especially women, think about - even if they don’t talk about it all the time. This often translates to resentment, feeling undervalued and increased redundancies. With Birdie, we’ve built a model that takes all of this out of the equation - it’s designed so everyone automatically gets a more fair environment, regardless of gender.
I’m so proud to be a key part of what we’re building here - and it’s extremely exciting to learn, grow and support this amazing community of professional women.
Oh, and by the way - we’re hiring…!
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