News & Trends
A Global First in
Iceland, long considered to be the global leader on gender equality in the
workforce, recently took
another step forward to
close the gender-wage gap.
Legislation went into effect
Jan. 1 to add some needed
teeth to the Nordic country’s
decades-old equal-pay law.
Companies with at least 25
employees must now undergo
a certification process to
demonstrate that they pay
men and women equally.
Businesses that fail to earn
the certification are subject to
While a handful of
countries have taken steps
to address the wage gap,
Iceland’s new enforcement
procedure has set a global
precedent: For the first time,
a federal law shifts the onus to
prove pay discrimination off
the individual worker, instead
requiring the employer
to show that it does not
Iceland is thought to be far
more progressive on equal
pay than the U.S.—which
recently ranked 28th on the
World Economic Forum’s
Global Gender Gap Report—
which Iceland topped.
Many equal-pay advocates
cite a 20-percent gap between
salaries for men and women
in the U.S. But don’t expect
Iceland’s certification process
coming to the U.S. any time
The Paycheck Fairness
Act, which would incorporate
more reporting and anti-retaliation standards into the
1963 Equal Pay Act—which
mandates equal pay for equal
work—has failed to advance
every Congressional session
since its introduction in 1997.
Without the political will,
the U.S. is unlikely to follow
Iceland’s lead on certification,
says Thomas Lewis, a labor
and employment attorney
based in the Princeton office
of Stevens & Lee.
“I think the certification
process could be difficult
because of extra costs and
the potential for extra burden
on companies,” Lewis says,
noting companies should still
examine their own policies
and practices to ensure
“Certainly, equal pay is
appropriate and companies
should be striving for equal
pay, not only as it applies to
men and women, but also to
members of minority groups,
young people and old people,
people of different colors,
religions, ethnic backgrounds.
Pay should be based upon
experience ... and not any
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity
Commission’s sex-discrimination lawsuit
against Estee Lauder
may finally teach
HR directors that
all benefits have to
be equal between
genders, says Jennifer
Sandberg, a partner
at Fisher Phillips.
In its first lawsuit in this
area, the agency claims the
Fortune 500 company’s
paid-parental leave policy
violates Title VII of the Civil
Rights Act of 1964 and the
Equal Pay Act of 1963, which
prohibit discrimination in
pay or benefits based on an
According to the EEOC,
the 2013 policy offers women
six weeks after childbirth or
adoption but men just two
weeks. It also
includes a four-
period” to ease
women back into
work, which is not
extended to men.
Despite a rash
of recent changes to family-
leave policies, Sandberg notes
that paid-family-leave policies,
even when not required by
law, must treat men and
Family and Medical Leave
Act guarantees workers at
companies with more than
50 employees up to 12 weeks
of unpaid leave for a variety
of conditions, including
childbirth and adoption.
But many companies and
municipalities offer workers
at least partial paid leave for
a birth or adoption. And men
are increasingly seeking
to take advantage of these
options, says Sandberg.
When the paid leave is
specifically for bonding with a
new child, the benefit needs to
be the same for both men and
women, Sandberg says.
Differing local and state
laws complicate the matter
for multi-state companies.
Sandberg says such
organizations can raise the
policy’s benefits to match the
most demanding applicable
Paving a New Path
When Ben Eubanks worked as a recruiter, he followed what some in the restaurant industry call the
“two-minutes, two-bites rule” to
ensure hiring managers were
happy with his services.
“Just as a server will
check on a customer a couple minutes into their meal, you want
to check in with the hiring manager right after the new hire starts
to make sure everything’s going as expected,” says Eubanks, who
is now the principal analyst at Lighthouse Research & Advisory in
Eubanks would typically send a two-question email asking the
hiring manager to rate, on a scale of one to 10, how the position-fill went and whether the process could have been improved.
Other recruiters might do well to follow Eubanks’ example.
Recent research has suggested the relationship between
recruiters and hiring managers is less than ideal, if not borderline
dysfunctional: Hiring managers blame recruiters for failing to
bring them suitable candidates and recruiters blame hiring
managers for being uninvolved in the recruiting process.
Companies neglect the hiring manager-recruiter relationship
at their own peril: Bersin by Deloitte’s last High-Impact Talent
Acquisition Maturity Model study found that relationship is four
times more influential than 14 other drivers, out of a total of 16,
says Robin Erickson, Bersin by Deloitte’s vice president for talent
acquisition, engagement and retention research.
So what explains the gap between the two parties?
It often boils down to a lack of understanding of the challenges
in one another’s roles, says Erickson, who notes the key to
success is spelling out expectations early on. The most important
component of that is the intake meeting between recruiters
and hiring managers, says Rosemary Haefner, chief human
resources officer at CareerBuilder in Chicago. However, a
CareerBuilder survey conducted late this summer of nearly 2,500
hiring managers and HR professionals reveals that 55 percent
of organizations do not require such meetings, even though 30
percent of respondents say it takes longer to fill jobs without one.
Another tool is a service-level agreement—similar to that
between vendors and clients—that clearly spells out the
expectations and responsibilities for recruiters and hiring
managers, Erickson adds. A “recruitment strategy kick-off
meeting” for each new requisition can also be beneficial, she says.
“Hiring managers have to be actively partnering with
recruiters to not only find candidates but convert top candidates
to come work for the company,” Erickson says.
Recruiters can also strengthen their bond with hiring
managers by learning more about the business they serve. At
CareerBuilder, recruiters will often attend a team’s quarterly
meeting or sit in on sales calls to get a better sense of how the
company works, Haefner says.
“By getting out in the business world, you’ll gain more
insight and will be better equipped to build personas of the ideal
candidates for a position,” Haefner says.
Ultimately, it’s worth a recruiter’s time to get to know their
hiring managers better.
“If a hiring manager can trust the recruiter they’re working
with to have the same sort of passion and commitment to the
position that they do, then they’re going to be much more likely
to want to work with that person,” says Erickson.
—Andrew R. McIlvaine