Talk to leaders across the tech industry, and you will not find one who is not committed to ensuring equity at their company — in principle.
Yet we know that the principle is not enough. Talking about it is not enough. Good intentions are not enough. Doing the actual work to define and measure equity across the organization — and to correct if and where necessary: that is what’s required.
At SAP, we are constantly looking at ways to do that work, and we have spent a lot of time focusing specifically on fair pay. SAP Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer Supriya Jha has written about our multi-year journey tackling this issue, as well as how we’re ensuring the results of our efforts are transparent. That visibility is critical to empowering all of our employees worldwide.
As part of that journey and our commitment to visibility, our organization recently took steps to measure our progress on fair pay. Here is what we found.
An Inside Look Into Pay at SAP
As Supriya outlined, our organization undertook a global statistical analysis in mid-2022 — an analysis that will now be conducted annually — to examine pay against comparable roles. The analysis found that our employees are paid fairly for equal work in more than 99% of cases.
But our team wanted to go deeper. So, we commissioned an additional U.S.-focused study, which refined the lens to focus on groups where we knew industry-wide systemic barriers to equal pay were more likely to exist. We were thrilled to find similar results.
This research aimed to determine whether there were any statistically significant inequalities among employees performing comparable work, specifically with respect to both gender and race. It found that nearly 99% of SAP employees in the U.S. are paid fairly. We adjusted the compensation of employees who found themselves in that narrow minority.
Fair pay is part of SAP’s moral and structural integrity for the long term. We do not just want employees to feel appreciated, we want them to feel empowered, and part of career growth conversations means having open dialogue about salary and compensation. Employees expect — and deserve — to have confidence in the measures in place that will reward strong performance while also paying equitably.
Simply put, we must consistently and regularly review our pay practices to ensure there is equity across the entire system.
An Outside-In Analysis of DE&I Efforts
And yet, we also know that the full picture is much bigger than just pay equity. Organizations must address the systemic and cultural factors that create, or potentially limit, access to career opportunity — those key moments in the hiring, career development, and promotion process that influence how it is someone finds themselves with a certain opportunity in the first place. Take this study for example: a statistical analysis on fair pay across similar roles starts with the assumption that to begin with everyone is already in the best job for their skills and potential.
As we outlined in an article published in Quartz last week, this broader focus is where some of the more complex and difficult change must occur, given its connection to social relationships, networking, mentoring, potential bias, and other nuances that can be deeply ingrained in existing work structures and cultural norms. Some of the areas we are continuing to investigate within SAP North America include:
- Succession planning, which literally foretells the future of the entire organization. It starts with elevating potentially “lesser known” folks, with intention. Are we painting a picture of what we want our leadership — and, by extension, our team — to look like?
- Talent funnel, where proactive measures build out diverse pipelines, so “less traditional” talent sources are no longer seen as risky choices, but instead understood for their inherent value. A tip for hiring managers: the level of diversity in your network is key to building high-performing teams in your future!
- Working parents and caretakers, who must be well-supported and cared for at work and at home. Ensuring policies and benefits are designed to support those dedicated to care taking and family-friendly needs.
- Access to opportunity, because too often it is not just what you know, but who you know, that connects you to an opportunity. Mentorship is important, but sponsorship is fundamental.
As we continue to synchronize this holistic view at SAP, we are intentional about fully realizing the power of the diverse communities we want to foster. Though this journey continues, we are proud to humbly continue getting better at making diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I) our DNA at SAP.
Lloyd Adams is president of SAP North America.
Megan Smith is head of HR for SAP North America.