Pay Equity: Ensuring a High-Quality Analysis

Authored by SullivanCotter’s Michael O’Malley – Principal, Nanci Hibschman – Managing Principal and Not-for-Profit Practice Leader, and Amanda Wethington – Principal


Most people responsible for pay equity studies within their organizations have only a superficial knowledge of statistics. Yet, as the primary underwriters and overseers of the work who are ultimately accountable for the overall quality, how can they ensure the analysis is reliable?

Understanding the Complexity of a Pay Equity Analysis

To help organizations better understand the complexities of a pay equity analysis and to ensure the delivery of high-quality results, SullivanCotter has a three-part approach to working with clients:

Listen and Ask

Statistical analysis is simply a way of summarizing the reality to which everyone has access. We encourage clients to be active participants in the project by soliciting their observations and gaining insight into their pay practices and internal challenges. We also mutually discuss how to assemble and operationalize the data. This is not a backroom operation from which we simply emerge with inscrutable results.

Show and Explain

Your organization does not require a deep-seated knowledge of statistics to understand what we hope to achieve through a proper pay equity analysis. These goals can be simply explained and illustrated. All of our assumptions are laid bare. All of our rationales for doing things one way versus another are carefully described and documented. We encourage clients to evaluate the technical merits of our work.

Summarize and Advise

Since our focus is on the overall well-being of the organization and its employees, it is important to consider the broader implications of the results and the ways in which clients can support fair and equitable human resources practices across the board. These recommendations are sensibly made with attention to cost in mind so that any changes deemed desirable can be easily implemented.

The quality of our work stems from a longstanding combination of technical expertise and a demonstrated sensibility to your organization’s unique issues. Communicating knowledge of our discipline, undertaking the work in the spirit of mutuality, and fostering a genuine concern for the welfare of the study’s participants make it easy to deliver reliable, accurate, and actionable results. Most importantly, we never consider our pay equity work to be a perfunctory exercise. Our work is informed by a rich understanding of the nature of your jobs and your industry so that analytical procedures proceed with full awareness of the possibilities for positive change.

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