Equal Pay Day: When Will Its Time Be Past?

By Sumit Sadana - 2021-03-23

We have this day to recognize inequality in pay for women. It points to the need for businesses to be relentless in driving change to create an inclusive economy.

I am proud that Micron announced that it has reached comprehensive global pay equality in total employee compensation across base pay, bonuses and stock rewards for all underrepresented groups. This milestone coincides with Equal Pay Day, which highlights the continued pay inequality that persists for women.

83 days. This is how many extra days women must work to receive the same pay that men received last year, according to the National Committee on Pay Equity. If this data point bothers you, then you are not alone. I do not know how to explain something like this to my wife — that her time, effort and contributions are worth less in our society than those of a man doing the same job. Sadly, women and minorities have had to live with this reality for far too long, with many just being resigned to it.

It does not have to be this way. We should all aspire to do our part to create a more just and equitable society. I am humbled by the progress our Micron team has made in this journey. And this progress was enabled by some of our company values: We embraced bold goals for ourselves, took accountability for our actions and were tenacious in our pursuit of fairness and equality.

Transparency promotes accountability

Our business success depends on Micron’s ability to hire, engage and retain the brightest and most talented people in the world because they bring diverse ideas, perspectives and experiences. At Micron, this means we aim to create an inclusive and welcoming workplace for all. Part of our vision to enrich life for all includes how we compensate our team members, our inclusive benefit policies and fairness in our people practices. Our team members expect that everyone is paid and treated equitably because they know that when we are all valued for our diversity and respected for our individuality, the magic of innovation and strong collaboration follows.

We measure our progress and report it in our annual DEI report. Micron identified six key DEI pillars (or actions) as essential to creating deep and lasting gains toward a more inclusive economy. An executive sponsor volunteered to lead each initiative. Given my passion for equality in pay and benefits, I was excited to become the executive sponsor for this initiative.

We examined our compensation figures and assessed opportunities for improvement. An open and transparent dialogue began about creating an equitable society with team members and our network of partners and suppliers.

From here, we began exploring impactful policies and programs. We decided that pay equity should include not only women but all underrepresented groups to truly create an environment where every team member is valued and respected. We started with the detailed data for all underrepresented groups in the U.S. – Blacks, Latinx/Hispanics, veterans, women and people with disabilities – and the last two categories across all our locations worldwide.

We are relentless in our pursuit of equality

As we looked for ways to accelerate our progress, we held brainstorming sessions to identify the most effective ideas. We realized we needed a strategy and new ways of measuring data in groups and subgroups. And we needed bold goals to inspire our progress.

We grappled with the various aspects that influence compensation — scope of role, performance, tenure in a given role and so on — but are tremendously complex to navigate. In addition, we realized that a global company like Micron must follow different laws in each country, and the data we sought often required a time-consuming and dedicated effort to obtain.

Nothing worthwhile happens without dedication, tenacity and single-minded devotion to our goals. I was inspired by the team’s energy and the positive spirit and leadership displayed by our people organization. This became a personal mission for this team, not just a corporate mandate. I am very thankful for the tremendous support from Micron CEO Sanjay Mehrotra and Micron Chief People Officer April Arnzen to make the resources available to enable our dramatic progress in such a short time.

Continue to Seek Improvement

Pay equity is one important step toward creating an inclusive and welcoming workplace where team members feel seen, heard, valued and respected. While I am proud of the progress we have made, there is much more to be done. We cannot declare victory yet. We publish our DEI report to hold ourselves accountable and to ensure we remain steadfast in our commitment to do more and to do better for all. We both recognize our successes and call attention to areas that need improvement.

Join us in our growth mindset

I am encouraged to see our team members and network of suppliers and customers join us in driving the kind of powerful change we know we can achieve. Business is the most effective platform to drive lasting change, and business leaders have the capability — and the obligation — to be strong influencers and contributors in our journey toward equity and social justice.

If you and your organization haven’t already done so, join us in being relentless, demonstrating your accountability and having a growth mindset. Creating an inclusive and equitable workplace for all enables us to propel our business, drive stewardship in the communities we call home and enrich lives for all.

Someday, there will be no need for Equal Pay Day. Women and underrepresented minorities will be paid on par with men for equal work, and this day of recognition will be a thing of the past. Together, we can strive for this outcome.

Sumit Sadana

Sumit Sadana

Sumit Sadana is executive vice president, chief business officer and interim chief financial officer at Micron Technology.
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