ProsperCity is shining a light on inclusive leaders who are doing their part to close wage gaps, end salary discrimination, and diversify workplace teams. In this ongoing blog series, you’ll meet the folks who are bravely shaping culture. Listen to and share their stories, tips and resources. Keep the conversation going. Do you know a pay equity champion? Click here to nominate.

Abby Engers

v

she/her/hers

HR Consultant + Recruiter

Boly:Welch

Portland, OR

Founded 1986

Certified B Corp

Employment [sector]

PAY EQUITY Q+A:

Abby Engers, HR Consultant and Recruiter

What book influenced and/or changed your mind?

Give People Money by Annie Lowry influenced how I view money and work generally. It’s a strong case for Universal Basic Income (UBI), but the more important message for me is about why and how work is valued, and exploring the disconnect in our current economic system.

As a talent recruitment agency, how does Boly:Welch operationalize its commitment to pay equity?

We partner with third party vendors like ProsperCity, for one! We also make it an internal priority to post salaries whenever we can. Sometimes our clients ask us not to because of internal concerns, but in general out of the hundreds of jobs we post every year, about 70-80% of them include salaries.

What sparked the decision to implement these practices, policies or other actions?

When we post salary ranges, we get better qualified candidates who understand the level of the roles they’re applying for. It didn’t start off as a conscious decision, but the benefits became pretty obvious.

How do these actions connect to Boly:Welch’s values and commitment to diversity and inclusion?

Being a certified B Corp means we challenge ourselves to continue to improvethis year by participating in the Portland Means Progress campaign as an early adopter. The campaign calls for businesses to commit to paying a minimum living wage of $15/hr, take action to create work experiences for underrepresented youth, support small businesses owned by people of color by purchasing their goods and services, and create a culture change by providing Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion training for staff and leadership.

We’re looking forward to thoughtfully building out our existing initiatives to help create meaningful change for Portland. One of the ways we already do this is by including salaries in job postings. Disclosing salaries often results in greater wage parity for women and people of color. These groups have traditionally been paid less—Equal Pay Day stats report that White women make 80 cents to the dollar of their male counterparts and Black women make 63 cents of that and Latinas just 54 cents—and basing their future pay on their past earnings means they will continue to be paid less.

Just by having and honoring a salary range—even if a candidate has made less before and might accept a lower salary—you are basing the value of the role on the benefit it brings the company vs. a person’s earning history.

How have these actions had a positive impact on you, Boly:Welch and its employees? 

A lot of the positive impacts are anecdotal, but we’ve heard from many candidates that they applied to our agency because we disclosed salary ranges and they appreciate our commitment to making the workplace more equitable.

If you were to mentor another business leader in making a similar change, what would you say?

1) Take the time to learn about unconscious bias in the hiring process and do your very best to eliminate those barriers to creating a diverse workforce (e.g., eliminate gendered keywords in job postings, make sure hiring managers aren’t screening on things like names or class cues, create and post a salary range, etc.) There’s a lot of great research and solutions out there!

2) Intentionally diversify your network.

3) Improve your company’s transparency by showing your employees your financials—or at least give them a sense of how and why money is spent at your organization. It’s incredibly empowering and can create a lot of trust.

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