Addressing the Gender Wage Gap in India: HR Approaches For Achieving Salary Equality

The gender pay gap is a complex and deeply ingrained issue that requires immediate attention. As Indian organizations strive to create an inclusive and diverse workforce, HR departments play a crucial role in achieving pay equity says Archana Rajamanickam, Head of Knowledge Management, e-con Systems.


The issue of gender wage disparity persists globally, and India is no exception. Despite significant progress towards gender equality, women still face unequal remuneration in the workplace. Human Resources (HR) departments play a critical role in bridging this gap and fostering a more inclusive workforce. In this article, we will explore two essential HR approaches - skill benchmarking and transparent salary structures - that can facilitate salary equality in the Indian context.

Understanding the Gender Wage Gap in India

Before delving into the approaches, let us gain an understanding of the current state of the gender wage gap in India. Numerous studies have highlighted the alarming discrepancy in earnings between men and women across various sectors and industries. Contributing factors to this gap include occupational segregation, career interruptions due to family responsibilities, and biased recruitment and promotion practices.

According to a study conducted by the World Economic Forum, India ranked 140th out of 156 countries in the Global Gender Gap Index 2021. This ranking indicates a significant gender disparity in economic participation and opportunities. To address this challenge, HR professionals need to implement targeted approaches aimed at eliminating the gender wage gap.

 Approach 1: Skill Benchmarking

Skill benchmarking is a crucial approach that HR departments can adopt to ensure fair compensation practices. It involves establishing clear and objective criteria for evaluating employee skills, experience, and performance. By setting standardized benchmarks for various roles and positions, organizations can assess an employee's value solely based on their abilities, regardless of gender.

Job Evaluation and Grading

To initiate skill benchmarking, HR teams should undertake a comprehensive job evaluation process. This process entails breaking down job roles into specific tasks and responsibilities and assessing their relative importance and complexity. By assigning a grade to each job based on this evaluation, organizations can establish a foundation for fair and equitable salary structures.

Unbiased Performance Assessments

Fair and unbiased performance assessments are crucial for the success of skill benchmarking. HR managers must be trained to identify and eliminate any gender bias when evaluating employee performance. Additionally, conducting regular calibration sessions can help minimize subjectivity and ensure consistency in the assessment process.

Skill Enhancement and Training

To ensure long-term salary parity, HR departments should prioritize providing opportunities for skill enhancement and training to all employees, irrespective of their gender. By investing in the professional development of employees, organizations can ensure equal prospects and enhance their expertise, thereby contributing to a more balanced salary structure.

Approach 2: Transparent Compensation Systems

Transparent compensation systems foster trust, transparency, and fairness within an organization. When employees have a clear understanding of how their salaries are determined, it reduces the likelihood of gender-based pay disparities or any other forms of discrimination. HR professionals can adopt the following methods to establish transparent compensation systems:

Salary Bands and Ranges

Defining distinct salary bands and ranges for different job levels within the organization helps prevent wage discrepancies. These bands should be established based on market research, job evaluations, and industry standards to ensure competitiveness while reflecting internal pay fairness.

Communication of Compensation

Transparent communication regarding compensation policies and salary structures is crucial for building trust among employees. HR departments should proactively share information about the factors considered in determining salaries, as well as how promotions and raises are linked to performance and experience.

Compensation Equality Audits

Conducting regular audits to ensure compensation equality can help identify and rectify any disparities that may arise over time. These audits should be conducted impartially, and any inconsistencies discovered should be promptly addressed. Transparent compensation systems, along with these audits, can ensure that pay equity remains a top priority in the organization.

The gender pay gap is a complex and deeply ingrained issue that requires immediate attention. As Indian organizations strive to create an inclusive and diverse workforce, HR departments play a crucial role in achieving pay equity. By implementing strategies such as benchmarking competencies and establishing transparent compensation systems, HR professionals can take significant strides toward narrowing the gender pay gap. Ultimately, fostering an environment where employees are fairly and equitably compensated based on their skills, qualifications, and performance will not only promote gender equality but also drive long-term organizational success and growth.

By addressing the gender pay gap, Indian organizations can cultivate an inclusive and progressive work culture that recognizes the value and potential of all employees, irrespective of gender, leading to a more promising and equitable future for everyone.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house

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