By Larisa Klebe, Rachel Eisen and Sara Shapiro-Plevan
On Tuesday, November 19, 2019, Sara Shapiro-Plevan and Rabbi Rebecca Sirbu of the Gender Equity in Hiring Project released an editable spreadsheet and asked fellow Jewish nonprofit professionals to anonymously but publicly share their salaries.* The spreadsheet collected 210 responses within the first 12 hours, and as of today sits at 743 entries. This spreadsheet was not only important in terms of collecting data. It also sent a powerful message: if we want pay equity, we must have salary transparency.
To get to full salary transparency, we must first tackle the lack of listed salary ranges on job postings. Here is where the story of the Salary Range Transparency Working Group begins. Around the same time the spreadsheet was released, Shapiro-Plevan posed a question in the Year of the Jewish Woman (And Allies) Facebook group: Who wants to join a task force, organized and sponsored by the Gender Equity in Hiring Project, to make salary range inclusion on job postings the standard in our field?
When our group, now eight members strong, initially met, it was simply for conversation; history has shown us, however, that when women get together the result is rarely just talk. Stuff usually gets done. The personal is political, and discussion about our own pay-related experiences and frustrations quickly turned to brainstorming. By the end of that initial discussion we decided to put together a toolkit to empower individuals to fight for salary range transparency, and to encourage organizations to adopt it.
Our goal is simple: every job posting in the Jewish nonprofit sector should include a publicly-listed salary range.
In order to achieve this goal, we need widespread support and participation. We can talk endlessly about how this promotes equity; the ways in which it benefits employers, employees, and jobseekers; how a culture in which transparency and trust aren’t the norm disproportionately hurt women, BIPOC and other marginalized groups, and perpetuates inequitable pay. But if the theory doesn’t translate into practice, we’ll never see the change that’s so desperately needed.
Demonstrating the relationship between transparency and equity isn’t enough because – real talk – not everyone wants equity. We need to empower our Jewish communal employees to take action on their own behalf, and create an environment in which failing to be transparent about pay is simply unacceptable. We can also show employers how posting salary ranges benefits them in streamlining the hiring process, saving time and resources.
While salary range transparency is beneficial to organizations as well, that’s almost beside the point. Jewish values steer us toward equity, and when we live our values both inside and out we are better for ourselves, better for our professionals, and better for the communities we serve. This alignment of values and actions demonstrates a commitment to integrity, both with our constituents and with our employees – outside, and inside.
We’ve already seen impressive progress. Individuals we’ve reached out to have added salary ranges to job postings that originally didn’t have them. Organizations that previously didn’t post salaries now do. An increasing number of individuals are initiating conversations about salary transparency in Facebook groups like JEDLABJobs, in which it’s still common to see job postings without pay information included.
Today, our group is excited to begin sharing toolkit resources with the community, which can be found on the Gender Equity in Hiring Project website. As this is an ongoing effort we will continue to add to the toolkit over time, but you’ll currently find data and articles that can aid your own conversations about transparency, stock language for a variety of scenarios, and testimonials from communal leaders who have adopted transparency in their own organizations. These materials will help both individuals and organizations learn more about and advocate for transparency, and contribute to the creation of a new cultural paradigm in which talking openly about salary isn’t only permissible, but actively encouraged.
Who are the members of the Salary Range Transparency Working Group? We are you. We are Jewish nonprofit professionals who believe deeply in the vital nature of our sector’s work, and who want to make our field better not just for ourselves, but for those coming up behind us. Promoting salary range transparency is just one puzzle piece in the fight for equity. It is a critical and relatively small, actionable step that so many of us have the power to take. So, who’s with us?
*This data, aggregated and analyzed and planned for release on March 1, 2020, will be released in a pandemic-revised version this September, with plans for next steps in light of our current situation. If you’re interested in being involved in a small group analysis team, please contact us at [email protected].