How Pay Transparency Helps Women Construction Workers

How Pay Transparency Helps Women Construction Workers
Laws aimed at ending pay inequality are becoming more common, focusing on pay transparency and salary history bans. When companies are open about compensation information, it can help close the wage gap between what men and women are paid for the same work and uncover discriminatory pay practices. The newly enacted and proposed local, state, and federal regulations will impact women construction workers.

The construction industry currently has one of the highest rates of pay equity in the US. Women make an estimated 95.5% of what their male counterparts earn on average in the industry. However, with the emergence of pay transparency as an economic issue, pay equity for women construction workers is expected to improve even further.

What is pay transparency?

Pay transparency is publicly sharing salary information for job roles. It isn’t uncommon for government jobs to post salary ranges in job descriptions, but private companies typically do not share salary ranges. This often puts women, who have historically earned less, at a disadvantage during salary negotiations.

ADP, the payroll provider, posts up-to-date pay transparency laws by location here.

Furthermore, many organizations rely on an applicant’s salary history when making hiring and compensation decisions. “A salary history ban is, most often, a policy that limits or forbids employers from asking about and relying on a job applicant’s prior salary in hiring and compensation decisions,” according to the Center for American Progress.

HR Dive provides a running list of current salary history bans.

How is it changing?
There is currently a scattered approach to pay transparency across federal agencies and state and local governments. The US Office of Personnel Management, for instance, proposed a regulation banning using salary history in federal employment offers. In New York, not only are employers banned from seeking salary history, but a statewide law that went into effect September 17, 2023, requires employers with 4 or more employees to disclose pay ranges for all jobs, promotions, and transfer opportunities. In Jersey City, New Jersey, all employers in the city with five or more employees must disclose the minimum and maximum salary, or hourly wage, and benefits for each job, promotion, or transfer opportunity.

Who benefits from pay transparency?

Equal pay goes beyond a fairness issue. As with many policies aimed at reducing bias and discrimination, pay transparency benefits all workers by leveling negotiations. It may even help to increase the construction workforce by attracting new women construction workers.

Advocacy for women construction workers
As the leading organization for women in the industry, the National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC) advocates for all women construction workers. NAWIC also provides support, networking and mentorship, leadership training and educational opportunities for more than 6,100 members in 118 chapters across the US. Contact a chapter near you to learn more.