Gender Wage Gap
There are many different types of bias within the working environment. At times, one had to be a white-male to be a manger in many organizations. The wage-gender gap, or the discrepancies between equally qualified men and women, has diminished in many career paths, but still exists. The “glass ceiling” clearly remains a powerful force within the workplace. Qualified women are blocked from upper-level managerial positions, but their absence at the very top skews the curve when they are clustered in the middle. It seems that it takes about 30% penetration of women managers to begin to more rapidly move the distribution effect, suggesting that now; women remain concentrated in workplace settings with lower wages — in almost every industry (Cohen and Huffman, 2007, 699).
Ernst and Young, a major accounting firm, realizes that it is in their best interest to find new and innovative ways to break the glass ceiling, to provide more gender neutral opportunities, and to allow for flexible scheduling that might fit a working parent’s needs, as well as a benefit to a new generation of client needs.
1 – Breaking the glass ceiling is significant for Ernst and Young because of the changing demographic and psychographic needs of both employees and clients. In order to find and retain top talent, the company realizes that it must find more innovative ways to round out its pool of experts with new ways of viewing schedules, client meetings and telecommuting. This is particularly true in the new global environment, where talent may not be geographically convenient, but can be applied to special business considerations in a cost-effective manner. Additionally, in the 21st century paradigm, management needs to find and develop high potential talent so that the company can compete aggressively in the global environment. By opening up the hiring universe to women and minorities, as well as people who need non-traditional schedules, Ernst and Young has a greater opportunity for a broader base of talent.
2. Ernst and Young takes an innovative approach to defining roles for specific individuals and specific clients that best meet both needs. It asks its partners and clients to help identify skills and roles so that it can place the right employee with the right client; the company offers fare more robust training and mentorship programs designed to use experience to help others; the firm is open to flexibility in hours or days as long as the job is done and the client satisfied; and more high-potential employees are placed in a rigorous program that allows them to glean experience in several aspects of accounting and management. The gist of the idea is flexibility and looking beyond the “now” and into the future — retention of talent is preferable to continual hiring and training.
3. Ernst and Young does use a robust career management process to develop employees in a more strategic manner. They realize that career management is not a single event, but a lifelong and evolving process that requires active input from management, human resources, and the employee. Their 360 degree program establishes and tracks goals, and provides appropriate levels of feedback to aid in the training process. More importantly, Ernst and Young’s process understands that life changes (births, interests, geography, etc.) cause career goals to change and evolve. Part of their career management process is to monitor and adjust the course as needed. This provides continual stimuli for the employee, and also allows Ernst and Young the chance to redevelop human resources as times and technology changes. The idea for Ernst and Young, it seems, is that a career is a two-way investment and should thus be treated as such = Valuable, long-term, yet flexible and individually oriented.
Besides the steps outlines in the articles, Ernst and Young could also try two additional steps to buttress its program. First, reach out to schools, particularly schools in inner cities or developing areas with after school programs or internships that are designed to spark the interest of potential students who might need mentorship, scholarships, or other incentives for their advanced education. E&Y could sponsor X number of students with a provisional offer of internship and/or hiring based on skill. Second, E&Y could explore the options of expanding globally without the need of large brick and mortar offices, using telecommuting and Internet meetings to liaison with the corporate office and clients. For example, if a German Accountant had vast expertise in working with Sporting Goods, their expertise should be available to global clients.
Accounting for Good People: Talent Management. (July 21, 2007). Galegroup. Retrieved from: http://www.galegroup.com.
Collinson, David and Jeff Hearn. (1994). Men, Women, and Organizations. Gender,
Work and Organization. 1(1): 2-22.
Hymowitz, C. (June 14, 2007). Coaching Men on Mentoring Women is Ernst and Young
Partner’s Mission. The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved from: http://www.wsj.com.
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