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Members Discuss Fair Pay Practices and Pay Equity

Energy Workforce’s HR Committee sponsored a webinar to discuss fair pay practices and the steps companies can take now to achieve pay equity on May 25. Council Members Christian Antkowiak, Co-Chair, Labor Employment Benefits & Immigration Section and Shareholder, Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney, and Maria Lorente, Human Resources Director, Schlumberger, led the discussion.

Antkowiak kicked off the webinar with a presentation covering the legal considerations in conducting a pay equity audit.

“The wage gap persists whether we admit it or not, but said research suggests it has been narrowing very slowly. Occupational segregation — or career clustering — and time in and out of the labor force make up 60% of the gender wage gap.”

Christian Antkowiak, Buchanan, Ingersoll & Rooney

Pay equity is determined at the nexus of recruiting, performance review, compensation and promotion systems, Antkowiak said. Research shows that diversity and equity improve profitability while also strengthening the company’s reputation and brand value.

He discussed the three types of pay equity audits companies should consider depending on their goals: foundational, remedial and casual. Antkowiak advised it is important for a company to establish a good remediation approach before seeing the results of the audit. Lorente shared the pay equity audit Schlumberger recently published and noted there was 100% leadership support in doing the audit. She said one of the many challenges within company leadership is that some do not think it is necessary.

“Schlumberger decided to use the base salary data as that was the most accurate data,” Lorente said.

She noted that every year they did a compensation study within their organization, however this year they decided to share their findings publicly. She advised that it is important to find the right methodology to factor in all compensation levels for each employee to find the correct data.

Antkowiak noted that a good start to pay equity would be establishing a pay grade scale to help eradicate pay gaps between new hires and current employees given the current labor market. He said not many organizations have gone through a pay equity audit to really understand how complex it is. Lorente said she cannot emphasize enough how important the basic data is to get started in setting the audit parameters.

If you are interested in joining the HR Committee, contact COO Molly Determan.


Roni Ashley, Director Operations, writes about the Energy Workforce’s membership, workforce development and more. Click here to subscribe to the Energy Workforce newsletter, which highlights sector-specific issues, best practices, activities and more.
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