A few months ago, I hired an equally qualified woman for less money than I offered a man for the same position.

This is a story about unconscious bias.

#sktech #womenintech #womeninstem #EqualPayDay #cdnpoli #skpoli
#Equalpay for equal labour continues to plague every economy and corporation around the world, with the median pay for women remaining stubbornly 15-20% lower than men, even in countries working hard to do better with legislation, education, and systemic interventions.
Women are perceived as less technical during hiring interviews, they have to prove competence more often than men to justify rewards, including promotions, and they are more likely to take on or be assigned “office housework”.
Many companies transparently work to improve the situation, including, like @SiemensCanada, taking the 50/30 Challenge or publishing the progress they're making towards a more diverse and inclusive workforce.

But one clear problem is bias, frequently unconsciously applied. This is when otherwise well-meaning people, men or women, fail to treat women equally because of underlying societal training.

We all have this.
So back to my story.

In January, I hired a woman for a position that started in May. At the time, I worked with HR to review my team's salaries and established what we believed to be a fair salary, given that she was about to graduate from @usask_engr.

She happily accepted.
Three months later, I sat down to build an offer for a man, entering into the same position at the same seniority level, graduating from the same university at the same time from the same engineering program.
Without looking at the salary I had offered the woman, I worked with my colleagues to establish what we believed to be a fair salary.

It was over 3% higher.

I offered the man more money. But I didn't know it yet.
Fortunately, @siemenssoftware insists that we review all job offers with HR. I’ll be honest, it was almost missed here as well because the woman was not yet on my team.

But then it occurred to us...
"What salary did we offer in January to the woman with the same start date & experience?"

.... Oh.
The really good news is that @Siemens made everything else easy. Within 48 hours, we were able to call the woman and inform her that she, before even starting, was going to get a 3% raise.

We also told her why.

She also gave permission to share the story.
But I learned that even with the best of intentions, I need to create or use systems to help me interrupt my biases. And that unconscious biases are _really_ unconscious.

But I'm also worried.
Most companies don't have the resources to review salaries with independent teams. And most salary reviews are more complex, when employees come with different qualifications and experience. And we know that unconscious bias training has significant limitations.
So what can we do, as a society, to ensure bias interruption across all of our economies and institutions?
Supplementary and helpful reading: hbr.org/2019/11/how-th…
You can find more details about this story here on the Siemens Ingenuity site:


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More from @AaronGenest

7 Mar
For #InternationalWomensDay, I got asked by @Siemens what I thought was the biggest thing we could do to improve the participation and experience of women in the workplace.

I said #childcare.

Flexible, affordable, accessible, quality childcare.
Women struggle in the workplace because of the real effects of raising a family in a society structurally-based on stay-at-home mothers AND the perception of employers who feel the need to 'manage the risk' that women will become pregnant.

When I talked about supporting a woman who was struggling to work and manage her family responsibilities, I was inundated with messages from women who had been discriminated against for being pregnant or even looking like they might be considering it.

Read 12 tweets
11 Jan
An employee came to me last week and asked to move to 80% time. Her husband, she said, was taking on some extra responsibility and they were having trouble keeping the kids on track during remote learning.

I said no.

#sktech #skpoli #cdnpoli #COVID19SK #covid19
Women in the workplace have been disproportionately affected by COVID, erasing decades of gains. And it's easy to see why when women typically earn less (even for the same jobs) than their partners. forbes.com/sites/advisor/…
Every reason my employee gave was valid and rational (we hire great people), but the base assumption was wrong.

The assumption was that we should expect the same thing of our work lives now in terms of productivity and time commitment that we did with pre-COVID.
Read 13 tweets
16 Nov 20
Clear, cogent communication is a critical component of crisis management. I realised today that my mental health is poor in large part because of a cognitive dissonance I experience between what is happening and what I hear from our leaders. #covid19sk
This is what I would like to hear:

Saskatchewan, I know this is scary. We went through most of the pandemic with very little exposure to COVID. Although most of us struggled with the financial costs and mental & physical health toll of the pandemic, very few of us got sick.
Today, in the face of weeks of rising numbers and crisis-level numbers in our neighbouring provinces, I'm here to tell you how we're going to get through this together.

First, let me reassure you that across the Province, we have many people committed to keeping you safe.
Read 21 tweets
13 Nov 20
Today is the #yxe election, again, so I'm going to talk about one of my favourite subjects: taxes.

In particular, "why are my taxes going up every year faster than inflation in Saskatoon?"

The short answer? Because your parents made poor decisions.
The long answer is a bit harder. We're suffering from an infrastructure debt common to many cities our size and age that's the result of rapid growth in the 50's-70's, a false assumption that low taxes increased competitiveness, poor density planning up until the last decade,
and a massive shift in infrastructural load (because of population movement) from rural districts to urban districts.

Let's look at each of those in turn.
Read 19 tweets
23 Oct 20
Over a year ago, our neighbour's wife and kids escaped him. We and a few community members facilitated this, including finding a place for them to stay while they waited for a shelter, funding them in spending money, paying for the divorce lawyer, and much more.
In addition to a civil divorce creeping forward, there are criminal proceedings. The police officer responsible for the case described it as among the worst cases of abuse he'd seen in his lengthy career.

We've been continuing to support this family, since.
The family is an immigrant family, and the man and woman from two different countries. She's educated, but has poor English and has not worked in Canada. He's a tradesperson and has better English.

Before the separation our children played together.
Read 18 tweets

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