Equal Pay Day 2024: How pay transparency can close the gap

March 12, 2024
Corinne Beksha

Chief Operating Officer

Corinne Beksha

We’re two-and-a-half months into 2024, and only today has the average US woman’s compensation finally caught up to what the average man earned during 2023 alone. This milestone marks Equal Pay Day: a day to recognize the wage gap between men and women in the US.

Having spent most of a decade on the male-dominated trading floor of a top-tier investment bank, equal pay hits particularly close to home. During my time in trading, my colleagues and I actively tried to improve the status quo. We made a conscious effort to recruit more women. We sought out senior women in leadership roles – of which there was a general scarcity – to serve as mentors and help guide us on how to better advocate for ourselves, especially during end of year bonus conversations. In my experience, women consistently accepted smaller sums, while men talked more openly about their pay and fought fiercely to increase their share.

This led to great female hires leaving before making partner, resulting in a lack of female leadership, and the vicious cycle began again.  I was lucky enough to have two women leading my team who taught me to defend my worth. Their leadership is a big reason why I stayed in trading for so long – but I know my circumstances were the exception, not the rule.

While magnified in finance, this cycle is a problem that women face across industries and occupations. Women’s work gets undervalued, they miss out on bonuses, equity grants, promotions, and – over the span of their careers – it adds up to earning significantly less than men in similar positions.

So, how do we correct for a systemic deficit in female leadership and self-advocacy in pay conversations? One step in the right direction is pay transparency. If a woman knows how much the job pays, then that serves as an objective fact that she can use to advocate for herself. Eight states now have active pay transparency laws, including California, New York, Washington, and Colorado. Illinois is set to join them as of January 1, 2025.

While pay inequality and underrepresentation exist in nearly every workplace, they are prevalent issues in the technology sector. I’m happy to see progress being made in states highly concentrated with tech jobs, and that progress is a positive indicator that other states may follow suit. Proposed legislation is currently being reviewed in nine additional states, as is a proposed federal pay transparency law.

The reality is simple: people are able to make better decisions when they have more information. It’s a general truth, but especially when it comes to compensation. And I’m committed to making sure that is true for everyone here at Check. 

Pay transparency is woven into the fabric of Check’s business model and practices, not treated as an afterthought. It is our ethos to make paying people simple, which also means making it simple to pay people fairly. Looking ahead, equal pay will remain a priority initiative at Check, as it always has been:

  • We’ll continue to publish internal compensation bands annually and share our diversity and equity report cards for company-wide visibility. 

  • Equity analysis is a part of every compensation review cycle. We analyze our results on an annual basis to ensure fair promotion rates and compensation practices. By measuring how our process affects employees of all genders, races, and ethnicities, we can proactively identify disparate impact, interrogate our practices and decision-making, and make adjustments.

  • We put emphasis on having smart, dedicated, deserving women in leadership. In 2022, we shared that our leadership team was primarily made up of men, with only 2 women on a 9-person leadership team. We made a commitment to work toward addressing this imbalance, while remaining radically transparent and accountable. I’m proud to share our progress toward this goal. We have moved to a female-dominated leadership team: 8 of the 12 people on this team now are women.  

I’ve witnessed the cycle of inequity that occurs when women’s roles are undervalued. Had compensation bands been shared when I was working in trading, my colleagues and I would have objectively known the bounds in which our work was valued. We could’ve used that data to advocate for ourselves. It’s not the end-all solution to the much greater societal problem, but it’s a start. We are constantly striving to improve and, while we are far from perfect, I’m proud that we’re committed to going a step further at Check.

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