Why Mastercard is publicly trying to correct its gender and race pay gap

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Mastercard is hoping that disclosing some of its internal imperfections will help it narrow its gender pay gap and the race of employees.

“What gets measured gets managed,” Ann cairns, the executive vice president of the payment company, told me in a virtual video interview Friday at the Web Summit conference. “It’s a matter of standing up to the outside world and being scrutinized. And I think it’s a good thing to do.

Earlier this year, Mastercard said its female employees around the world 7.8% less that its male employees, on a median basis, and that its American employees of color do 7% less than white employees. Similar disclosures of gender pay have been made by other Fortune 500 companies, including Citigroup, Starbucks, and this week, Adobe.

Cairns said on Friday that Mastercard pays the same amount ‘dollar for dollar’ for the same job, and that its pay gaps “are not because we pay one person less than anyone else … It’s just that we have more senior men in our company than women, as do many companies around the world. And we have to adjust the ratio of black Americans. ”

The company in June promised increase the number of black employees to vice president level and above 50% by 2025. (Mastercard is also investing externally in racial justice, commitment $ 500 million over the next five years to promote financial inclusion in black communities. As outgoing CEO Ajay Banga recently said Fortune Editor-in-Chief Clifton Leaf, “Our idea of ​​stakeholder capitalism begins with our people. We can then determine what else we need to do in our community, including our financial inclusion efforts. “)

On the employee side, Cairns says Mastercard is putting some responsibility behind its efforts to close its pay gap: “They’re very much in our goals and targets, and they show up in performance reviews,” she said. “And we’re looking at the promotion rate and the retention rate of people at every level of the organization, because it’s not just about fixing a layer. It’s about top-to-bottom mending of the business. “

Cairns, which has regularly appeared sure FortuneThe annual list of the most powerful international women, spends much of their time advocating for gender diversity, including outside of Mastercard. She also chairs the 30% Club, a high-profile UK organization that advocates for more women at all levels of world trade.

It is a daunting task and the pandemic and its catastrophic economic impact on women risks undermining. In the United States alone, women have lost 5.3 million net jobs since February, and nearly 2.2 million women have dropped out of the workforce – meaning they are not even currently looking. working – depending on National Center for Women’s Rights. These staggering numbers are the result of factors such as the disproportionately high job losses suffered by black and Latin women, and the enormous burden of distance schooling and childcare that falls on mothers but not fathers.

“It’s really difficult and very scary for this to happen,” Cairns says. But given the imminent distribution of COVID-19 vaccines, “I hope this is a break and women can start returning to the workforce sooner next year rather than later.

Learn more about the most powerful women in business of Fortune:

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