75% Of Senior Leaders Say Their Organization Prioritizes Pay Equity and Transparency, but Less Than Half of Employees Agree

NEW YORK--()--Research from XpertHR and Executive Networks, released today, has found that there are significant gaps in perceptions around pay equity between senior leaders within an organization and their overall employee base. 75% of business leaders believe that their company prioritizes pay equity, but less than half (47%) of their employees agree.

To conduct the research, more than 1,000 HR leaders, business leaders, and employees across the US and UK were surveyed. Results indicate that half (45%) of employees think pay inequalities exist within their company.

However, there are varying levels of confidence in how effective their organization is at achieving pay equity, with business leaders being the most confident (77%), followed by HR leaders (69%), while employees are the least confident (50%). Further to this, the research found that 7 out of 10 leaders (71%) believe that current pay transparency practices are effective, while only 39% of workers agree.

Leadership confidence in these pay equity efforts is perhaps driven by an understanding of the possible ramifications of pay inequity to their organizations. 47% of HR leaders note inaction leads to reduced employee retention, while 44% of business leaders highlight it can lead to reduced productivity. Conversely, if action is taken, businesses can reap many rewards. For HR leaders the biggest advantage is improving diversity, equity, and inclusion in their workforce (54%), while business leaders are focused on the increased employee productivity (47%).

The study also found that pay transparency initiatives were largely driven by employee expectations (52%), candidate expectations (41%), and the belief that pay transparency is the right thing to do (41%).

With businesses understanding not only the societal importance of having pay equity, but also the strategic business impact that pay equity brings, senior leaders are being brought in to lead the charge. Almost half of business leaders (45%) say that the CEO should be responsible for leading pay equity initiatives, while Senior HR leaders are significantly more likely to say the CHRO should be responsible (25% vs. other business leaders 14%).

Sabina Mehmood, Pay Equity Leader at Gapsquare, part of XpertHR comments:

“With increasing regulation and the social data spotlight turning towards pay transparency in the US, employees have been empowered to advocate for themselves, and more specifically, for the pay they deserve. More than just the right thing to do, pay transparency and equity is business critical.

“Encouragingly, we are now starting to see more initiatives coming to the forefront as businesses look for ways to tackle the issues head-on. But, there remains a lot of talk around pay equity. While business leaders may feel like they are walking the walk alongside this talk, the results show this might not be the case. To evolve pay practices beyond being a tick-box exercise and progress toward a human-centric, strategic approach, businesses need to remove the cloak around this issue and open up to their people on pay.”

Jeanne Meister, EVP, Executive Networks and author, comments:

“Pay equity is moving up the corporate agenda, and HR is beginning to understand it’s growing beyond a DEI matter and evolving into a core pillar of a business’ strategic ESG plans. For HR leaders, this should be a welcome development. There is now a clear business case to be made for pay equity to get Board level input and investment required, but employees need to be brought along this journey, too. Here HR can shine, bridging the gap between leaders and employees, and moving the entire organization to more transparent and equal pay.”

To read further insights, download the 2023 Pay Equity and Transparency Study: Actionable Insights for a Fair Future of Work eBook here: www.gapsquare.com/research-pay-equity-and-transparency.

The webinar “Breaking Through the Barriers to Pay Equity and Transparency” was held on 12th April. Check out the on-demand webinar link here after 12th April.


About the Research Data

Executive Networks, with XpertHR, conducted an online survey of 1,011 HR leaders, business Leaders, and employees from a mix of industries. The survey was conducted in January of 2023, with half of the participants based in the United States and half in the United Kingdom. Respondents varied by age, gender, and ethnic-racial groups, including those identifying mixed or multiple races.

About XpertHR®

Global leader XpertHR empowers organizations to shape HR strategy, manage employee risk and embrace diverse talent ecosystems to create equitable, high-performing, and purposeful workplaces. Since 2002, the data analytics and intelligent solutions provider has earned a reputation for providing expert insights, trusted resources, and practical tools to help customers achieve greater efficiency, improve compliance, and increase employee engagement. XpertHR is proud to be part of the LexisNexis® Risk Solutions portfolio within RELX, a global provider of information-based analytics and decision tools for professional and business customers. To learn more, visit www.xperthr.com.

About Executive Networks

Executive Networks is a senior HR peer community for global 1000 companies connecting HR leaders and providing trusted insights. Through exclusive access to research, learning programs, and concierge support, members bring shared knowledge and innovation into their organizations to achieve strategic business priorities. To learn more, visit www.executivenetworks.com.


Megan Linehan
+44 2034047740


Megan Linehan
+44 2034047740