It’s Equal Pay Day! Is Pay Equality Even Real?

If you didn’t know April 10th is national Equal Pay Day!

How are you spending today celebrating this Ummm, well, holiday-ish thingy?

I have yet to see a company do this, but it would be awesome to see them make all the white dudes come to work and everyone else who is affected by pay inequality actually gets the day off, with pay!

I know, you probably clicked to come read this article because you thought I was going to give you some right-winged propaganda about how Pay Inequality wasn’t real and it was just made up by the left! If that was your thought, you really don’t know me!

Pay inequality is real and I know it’s real because I’ve worked two decades in HR and I’ve seen it with my own eyes.  I’ve run the compensation reports and sat down with executives to show them the real data we were facing as an organization.

Was it 70 cents on the dollar to men? No, not in my experience, but it was enough to be embarrassing. It was enough to show we had real sexist and racist assholes working for us making pay decisions.

Here’s my take on Pay Equality Day…

We own this as HR. I was once asked to step down and leave a company because I went into the executive boardroom as an HR professional and said, either you pay these women the same as the dudes, or I’ll quit. They took that as my resignation because they were not about to pay the women the same. That’s cowardly leadership, but it proves a point.

We – HR – own this. It’s not hiring managers. It’s not CEOs or CFOs or COOs. It’s you and me.

If HR allows a hiring manager to make an offer to any candidate for less than others are being paid in the same role, and we don’t stop that, we own it!

If you don’t stop it, or you believe you can’t stop it, you can quit and go to work for an organization that respects all their employees. If you don’t, you are now complicit in pay inequality. You are now the problem, not the hiring managers, and not the executives.

Now, should you quit and give an ultimatum like I did? Hell no! I was young and stupid.

What I should have done is approached this with a plan and a solution to fix our problem. If at that point, I was told we didn’t have a problem, or we would not be fixing this problem, then I have some decisions to make. My solution was to change employees salaries now or I’m going to throw a fit. That doesn’t work in the real world of budgets, and stock prices, and, well, life.

It took us a lot of time to get into this position, you don’t get out of it overnight. In hindsight, here’s what I should have done to fix our pay inequality issues:

1. Discover the importance of this issue with the leadership team and our legal team. I can do a lot of things, but if this is considered a non-issue by both my executive team and my legal team, I’m not getting anything done.

2. Stop all new pay equity issues. I might not be able to change the past, immediately, but I can definitely ensure no new issues come in the door!

3. Make a plan, with finance, on how you recommend we solve historical pay equity issues, and request an audience to dual-present this plan on this issue with myself and finance. By doing this, I would have known what we can actually do financially and have the buy-in already from those writing the checks.

4. Discover who my true offenders are, and deal with these folks first. In my experience, pay equity issues rarely are equal across an organization. It’s usually small pockets of hiring managers and locations that are doing bad things. “Well, Tim, we’ve always paid the ‘gals’ a little less because they tend to leave and have babies!” Oh boy! Even after coaching, discipline, etc., I don’t allow these folks to make compensation decisions. They lost this responsibility for a long time.

5. Develop and run quarterly or monthly reporting and ensure your leadership and legal team are aware of your progress.

6. Tell your employees what you’re doing.

Pay equity is an HR issue. HR owns it.

We are now responsible for what happens in our organizations when it comes to compensation because we all have been put on notice. If you don’t take this responsibility then you shouldn’t be in HR.

The Top 100 Fortune 500 Employment Brands Report @WilsonHCG

RPO provider WilsonHCG released their annual Employment Brands Report for 2018. The report lists the top 100 employment brands based on an algorithm Wilson put together, and they are:

#1 – Johnson & Johnson

#2 – Intel

#3 – IBM

#4 – Lockheed Martin

#5 – Proctor & Gamble

#6 – General Motors

#7 – J.P. Morgan Chase

#8 – Dow Chemical

#9 – Cummins

#10 – ADP

So, how does that Top 10 feel at first glance?

I had some problems. The top 10 list seems a bit dated. Like it might be better titled, “Employment Brands People Over 40 Would Love to Work for!”. If someone on the street came up and said, “Tim, you can win a million dollars by telling us the 3 top Employment Brands in the U.S.” I would immediately say – Google, Apple, Facebook.

Google is on the list and in the top 20. Facebook is down at 61. Apple is NOT on the list! Also, no Nike. Very strange.

So, I looked at the criteria. How did this big RPO firm that sells to the Fortune 500 come up with this list? Here are the criteria for having a ‘top’ employment brand:

  • Career Page – Okay, that’s important to a great employment brand, solid start!
  • Job Boards – Um, what!? Your use of Job Boards has nothing to do with your Employment Brand! In fact, I would argue organizations with great employment brands don’t even have to use job boards.
  • Employee Reviews & Candidate Engagement – Okay, we get it Glassdoor has data.
  • Accolades – By whom? Me? You? This is also gamed as it’s “Best Places to Work”, “Most Admired”, etc. Which are all pretty much pay to play schemes.
  • Recruitment Marketing – RM is not EB. You can be great at RM – Amazon, and still have a weaker EB.
  • Corporate Social Responsibility & Recruitment Initiatives – Recruitment Initiatives? Could one of those happen to be – “Use RPO”? Just asking for a friend.

Okay, I’ve had enough fun with Wilson and the report, there was some actual good data that came out of it as well.

The biggest one that really hits home is this: The top 100 on the list scored 805% better than the bottom 100 on the list! That’s a giant disparity and really talks to the fact that EB (or more RM in this case) still has so far to come, but many top brands are beginning to separate from the pack.

Wilson found that top scoring companies had better alignment with marketing, which completely makes sense and it should be that way. Employment branding and recruitment marketing done in a silo, is a whole lot of wasted effort and resources. Your candidates are often your consumers, and while marketing messages can be vastly different from recruiting messages, the tone and voice should be similar.

Go check out the report, you can download a copy here! Under each of the six measures, the report does a great job of giving specific things organizations can do to better themselves.

Generational Profiling – The Newest Trend in Recruiting!

We all have heard and know what Racial Profiling is, right?

Well, we get to add something new to our toolbox in recruiting, Generational Profiling!

Targeting someone because of their race is awful and illegal. Targeting someone based on their age is no different. It’s called it Generational Profiling and we are in the middle of an epidemic.

Take a look at the average age of these super popular tech brands:

You don’t have to be a genius to understand what’s going on in hiring in these companies. Remember a couple of years ago when we all got hot and bothered because Facebook and the like weren’t hiring women? Please educate me on how this is any different.

If the world, especially our work world, is moving to more and more of a technology focus, what are organizations doing to ensure they hiring for diversity across generations? I’ll tell you! Nothing! It’s not on the radar of 99.99% of organizations. We don’t give a crap if we hire older workers or not.

But, TIM, you don’t understand, older workers don’t get tech and they don’t want to work in tech!


Here are some fairly significant tech companies, compare them to the ones above:

27 years old average age of employees to 38 years old average age employees is statistically significant in a giant way!

IBM, Oracle and HP value the diversity of generations in the workplace, and are probably more likely to not be generationally profiling when hiring.

You hear “Generational Profiling” when CEOs of Fortune companies speak at shareholder meetings. They will say things like: “We need to ‘modernize’ our workforce”. They aren’t talking about re-skilling, they’re talking about getting younger, believing that’s their real problem. These old farts can’t do what we need to be done.

So, what do you do about it?

We, talent acquisition, need to start calling this crap out! If your hiring managers weren’t hiring women or minorities because of poor ‘cultural’ fit, you would call them out.

In Generational Profiling, ‘poor cultural fit’ equals ‘overqualified’. “Yeah, I don’t want to hire Tim because he’ll be bored in this role.” Bullshit. You don’t want to hire Tim because you might be challenged by having someone on your team that knows something you don’t!

We have the data to show generational profiling. You can put a report together that shows each hiring manager by age and years of experience, then show the exact same thing for their team, then show the candidates presented in the same manner. A really interesting thing will happen! You’ll instantly see which managers are profiling hires by age!

-Tim is 27 and has 6 years of experience post-college.

-Tim’s team’s average age is 24 and has 3 years post-college.

-Tim’s interviews selected average age is “X” with “X” experience.

-Tim’s interviews declined average age is “X+” with “X+” experience.

Stuff just got real!

No one, and I mean no one, likes to be called a racist or a sexist. Our hiring managers should feel the same way if they were called and ageist, but they’re not. We need that to change.

By the way, you will see this in promotions as well…

Are You Hiring Weaker IT Talent If You Get Above 12% Female on Your Staff

So, Stack Overflow came out this week with their annual Developer survey. This survey is the real deal when it comes to IT staffing and data. Over 64,000 IT pros responded to the survey! That’s a giant data set up on hiring trends! You can download the survey results here: Free Guide: Recruiting Developers in 2017. (FYI – they’re not paying me to promote this, it was just fascinating data!)

So, there’s this concept in hiring when you look at pools of talent in a single skill set when it comes to gender. Let’s say you were running a retail chain. Your total employee mix is 70% female, 30% male. When you go to hire leaders you would assume that your leader gender mix would be 70% female and 30% male. But, we know this doesn’t happen.

In fact, in most cases, we see the opposite, 70% male and 30% female leaders selected. What happens when you do this is that you degrade the quality of leaders you are hiring because you are over hiring out of one pool. So, the quality of talent you are pulling from continues to get weaker and weaker. If only 30% of your employees are male, but you’re hiring 70% of your leaders from that small pool, you are statistically more likely to make bad hires.

In IT 88% of employees are male, 12% female (from the study). Thus, the theory would say, if you hire more than 12% female IT workers, you are ‘over’ hiring within one pool and probably getting lower level candidates from that pool.

I know that sounds crappy, right! Everyone hates when data doesn’t tell the story we hoped for! I get it, we all want more females in IT. I want more females in IT. But if you force it, you actually are giving your organization weaker talent, based on the pools available.

Some other super cool things that Stack Overflow was able to pull out of the data: 

– How do IT Pros find their job (called Job Discovery)?

  • 27% Referred by friends, peers, internal employees
  • 18% External Headhunters
  • 14% Contracted
  • 13% Job Board
  • 8.5% College Career Fair
  • 7.7% Visited Career Site directly

What’s missing? Yep! Almost no IT talent is hired by your internal recruiters! This should be super scary for TA Leaders! Go ahead and argue the data – it’s 64,000 IT pros! This is not a lie. Why is this the case? Well, the study also shows that only 13% of IT pros are actively searching for a job at any one time. Most internal recruiters only work with actively searching job candidates, so their pool of talent is very small, to begin with, thus way less hires.

– Job evaluation factors? Those things IT pros find most important when deciding upon which company to go work for. This one will also sting most Corp TA Leaders:

  • #1 – Is this position better for my career and skill set (okay, this is good)
  • #2 – Money fools!
  • The last thing on the list? Diversity. Ouch. IT pros could care less about your diversity initiatives and working in a diverse workforce. We want so badly for this to matter to candidates, but this study says it doesn’t. IT pros care more aobut the reputation of the person they work for, than diversity.

Go download the study for yourself. If you truly understand all of this data it will make it much easier for your organization to hire IT talent. We tend to spend so much time focusing on the wrong things and then struggle to understand why we can’t hire enough or fast enough.




The Top 7 Sources of Hire for 2017!

Silkroad released their annual Sources of Hire 2017 report and I always love looking at big sets of data around the source of hire because I think the vast majority of organizations are misallocating their talent acquisition resources in a big way, and this data just gives me more evidence to point to!

Check out this chart:

So, it looks like Employee Referrals remain king! That doesn’t surprise anyone, what should be surprising are two items from this list:

1. Organizations are wasting more time on Indeed than any other place. 2nd place of a waste of time is LinkedIn. What? If the vast majority of your interviews are coming from Indeed, but a much smaller percentage of your hires are coming from Indeed, you have a misallocation of resources. LinkedIn has the same thing happening but from a much smaller overall number.

2. CareerBuilder is exponentially a better overall value than LinkedIn, but when I ask most companies to give me their #1 spend LinkedIn is almost always their largest single purchase when it comes to the source of hire, even though it’s #7 overall.

So, what does this data tell us?

First, if you are not investing in automating and increasing your employee referral program, you should probably not hold a TA leadership position at any company in the world. I find most organizations spend the least amount of money ‘marketing’ and ‘automating’ their referral program than any other single source they have. Yet, it’s their number one source and their number one quality of hire source.

Second, Indeed does drive a ton of traffic, and for many companies that’s organic (free) traffic, so you can’t beat that. It’ll be nice to see if Google Jobs changes all of this when it’s fully live. You should see a traffic shift from Indeed to Google as a source of hire. But, this doesn’t mean Indeed will go away. Just like the job boards, people will find value and talent at Indeed.

Third, if you’re single biggest spend is on LinkedIn, yet, it’s not your single biggest source of hire, you’re being taken. By whom? Most likely your recruiting team who claims LinkedIn is awesome when it’s really not that awesome, for you. If your hires per source and cost per hire per source work out that LinkedIn is number one for you, great! Spend more! This data shows it probably won’t.

Lastly, you should be striving to make your sources and interviews be fairly equal if possible. If you’re interviewing a ton from a source because you get great traffic, but you don’t make many hires, it’s a greater waste of time than those sources where you get a high interview to hire ratio.

One final cool stat:


14 Million applicants, 655,000 interviews. This data tells us what the magic number is that we already all know, it takes three interviews to make one hire.

Feels right, doesn’t it?

Compromise Kills Innovation

The most innovative leaders of our time were mostly assholes. Why? They refused to budge on their idea. Everything in their body told them what needed to be done to make their idea happen, and they refused to compromise on even the smallest details. This is how greatness happens.

True change only happens when someone is unwilling to listen to their critics.

This is also the exact way more careers are killed than any others. It’s all or nothing. Greatness happens at the edges, not in the middle.

Unfortunately, this doesn’t fit well in most corporate environments. Most MBA programs don’t teach you to be a tyrant. Leadership development, in today’s corporate world, is about bringing everyone to the middle. Finding ways that we can all get along. Even suppressing those who push the envelope too far.

We want everyone to line up nice and pretty. To play the role they were hired to play. To be the poster children for compromise.

It’s important for leaders to understand this concept if your job as a leader is to drive innovation and change. You don’t drive this through compromise and you need some renegades on your team, that quite frankly you might not even enjoy being around.

It took me so long to learn this because I was a renegade as an employee. I couldn’t understand why my leaders kept pushing me to compromise when I knew the right way to do something, the better way to do something, the new way to do something.

Once I became a leader I acted the exact same way towards those who were like me. Get back in line. Run the play. Do what the others do. That was the leadership I was taught. I didn’t value those who seemed to be fighting me, just as I use to fight. New leaders struggle with this because we take it personally.

We feel like those renegade employees are actually fighting us. When in reality they’re fighting everything. It’s our job as leaders to understand that the fight they have is super valuable if directed at the right target! To get them to understand they don’t need to fight everyone and everything but pick some fights that help us all and then support that fight.

This isn’t everyone you lead. It’s actually a really tiny number, but it seems bigger because they take up a lot of time and cause a lot of commotion amongst the drones who want to stay in their box. But, this is how change and innovation are born. By one person who is unwilling to compromise because they know a better way and they’re willing to fight to make it a reality.

This isn’t to say it will always work. Most ideas fail, but those who are willing to make an uncompromising stand for their idea, stand a better chance of seeing that idea succeed.

I’m Not in the ‘Love’ Business

It’s almost the end of 2016 for most people. Once Christmas hits and New Years coming a week later, it seems like most of the population just coasts through the end of the year.

You know what happens at the end of each year? People begin to evaluate their life and their career. It usually goes something like this: “2016 was like totally awful. What am I doing with my life? I need to find a job that I love!” (in my head I’m totally saying this in my best 80’s valley girl voice)

I run a recruiting shop. I’m not in the ‘love’ business, I’m in the ‘win’ business.

In recruiting, someone is going to win and someone is going to lose. I mean if you’re good. If you go after noticeably better talent, that talent is actually working for someone else when you find them 99% of the time.

That means one organization is losing that noticeably better talent, and one organization is gaining noticeably better talent. Win. Lose.

Love has nothing to do with being a great recruiter. I mean it’s awesome if you’re one of the crazy ones, like me, who love this game, but it’s not necessary to be awesome. What is necessary is an emotionally unstable need to win.

Great recruiting organizations win. They win at a far higher rate than they lose. We’re not talking baseball hitting, we’re talking great free throw shooting. It must hurt when you lose. It must feel like a first kiss when you win.

Love has nothing to do with winning and losing. Some of the strongest competitors I’ve ever faced really didn’t love doing what they were kicking my butt in, but they had a great passion for winning at anything did.

Too often as recruiting leaders we feel we need to find people who love recruiting. All leaders fall into this trap, trying to get their teams to fall in love with the work they do. The belief that ‘love’ will drive great performance. Which might actually work, but getting someone to ‘love’ work, is really hard, and rare.

Getting someone who only wants to win, that’s much easier to find and feed.

I’m not in the love business. It’s messy and emotional. I’m in the win business. That’s black and white. You either won or you lost, how you react to that outcome tells me how good of a recruiter you are.

How focused Are Your Leaders In Making Your Organization Successful?

We all like to think we have a leader or two that is freaking dialed in at a level far superior to everyone else. They’re freaks. In early, usually, one of the first ones, out late, if not last. They seem to know what’s going on in every part of the organization before you do.

Our top leaders are ultra-focused on making their organizations great. Nothing seems to distract them and throw them off their game. So much so they probably have very questionable work-life balance, if they have any at all.

Want a real-life example of one of these freaks!? Let’s take a look at Alabama head football coach, Nick Saban:

Nick Saban said he wasn’t aware that millions of Americans went to the polls on Tuesday to vote for the next president of the United States.

“It was so important to me that I didn’t even know it was happening,” Alabama‘s head football coach told reporters in Tuscaloosa on Wednesday evening. “We’re focused on other things here.”

To be fair, news media isn’t part of Saban’s routine.

The 65-year-old coach typically wakes up every morning, has a Little Debbie Oatmeal Creme Pie and a cup of coffee and watches about 10 minutes of The Weather Channel, which promised no political coverage on Election Day…

Nick Saban wasn’t aware there was a Presidential election going on! Brother! That’s focus!

I’m not sure I buy into the fact he had no idea. Most leaders, especially leaders of 18-22-year-old young men, would have made a very specific point to encourage those men to be a part of the American process. To show their leadership within the community by voting. But, Nick is a freak!

Nick Saban is not like most leaders, he’s an outlier in every definition of the term, which makes him extremely good and extremely successful at what he does.

Do you think you have a leader in your organization that is so focused on making you successful that they didn’t even realize there was a Presidential election going on?  I doubt most of us have one of these folks in our organizations, but if you do, you need to pay attention to that person! I’m not saying it’s healthy, all I’m saying is success is hard, and sometimes you have to have unhealthy habits to get it and maintain it. We all face that balance

We all face that balance. Don’t judge Saban for his choices, they’re his to make. He’s addicted to success, even if it means not knowing what’s going on in the world around him.

Guess What? HRCI Didn’t Die!

So, back in March, I told you that HRCI was going to die! You know the whole SHRM started their own certification and why would anyone want two certifications. If given the choice the smart HR pro is going to choose SHRM over HRCI. I assumed, at that point, HRCI would pack up camp and just slowly go away.

Well, they packed up camp! Move across the street from SHRM (I mean literally across the freaking street!) and set up a new camp. I think that’s funny and cool, and shows some of the spunk the HRCI crew has in them.

We all know the story. HRCI was in bed with SHRM for 39 years, then SHRM decides it wants to be in bed by itself and start their own certification. My take then, and now, is the same, smart move by SHRM to drive more revenue. Good decision for the business, mass confusion for the membership.

So, HRCI, like most companies facing survival, did some things to make sure they will go on another forty years and some things I really like. Check these out:

Year around continuous testing. One major problem with most certification bodies is they get stuck in having their one or two times per year testing. Great for them, awful for the people wanting to certify. Technology now allows you to test anytime, anywhere. No waiting. Test when you’re ready. Smart.

Voucher program. Allows organizations to buy exams in bulk. So, you have a large HR shop and want to get all of your people certified, buy in bulk and save money. Also, certifying prep organizations can also buy in bulk and sell packages for prep and testing all in one. Again, this is something organizations like because they can pay for it all at once. Smart.

APHR – Associate Professional Of HR – HRCI was super smart with this one. Before students couldn’t truly get their PHR. They could take test exam but had to wait like two years before HRCI would issue the certification. Now, HR students (and there are 1,700 HR college programs around the country) can take this exam as a student and get the certification. Brilliant on so many levels! You now lock up students with an HRCI cert from the beginning and they’re more likely to move forward with additional HRCI certs. Plus, it’s a huge audience to go after that just keeps getting bigger each year.

2nd Chance Insurance – Currently for $150 you can hedge your bets on failing your HRCI exam and almost 45% of people fail! It’s tough! This is a little insurance policy to take it again the second time for a fraction of the cost. Smart. People love buying insurance! Smart.

Top Employer’s Institute – HRCI partnered with Top Employer’s Institute out of the Netherlands to certify complete organization’s HR shops. Basically, this is a third party coming in and ensuring your HR shop is providing best practices to your organization and you have your shit together. Everyone loves trophies! Smart.

I still don’t know how all of this will end, but my declaration of HRCI dying might have been premature! What I like is they’re moving fast and adapting to what HR pros want. This is a weakness of SHRM who tends to move much slower in making changes, even obvious changes.

HRCI has nothing to lose. They’re smaller. More nimble. They’ve got a little brother edge to them which I like. They’ve still got some huge marketing challenges ahead. First and foremost is SHRM’s advantage of messaging and marketing to their full membership about the advantages of their own certifications. That will be tough to overcome, but I don’t see them going away anytime soon.

Want to live like a rock star? Move to Detroit!

Glassdoor recently published a list of the Top 25 Cities where your pay will go the furthest. Who topped the list!? Yep, it’s DETROIT! GD found that the Cost of Living ratio in Detroit is 50%! That basically means that when living in Detroit you get to use 50% of your income for things other than bills! What is the Cost of Living ratio in San Fransisco (the lowest of all American cities)? 11%! Basically, you only get to use, for your own enjoyment $.10 of every dollar you earn in San Fran!

What is the Cost of Living ratio in San Fransisco (the lowest of all American cities)? 11%! Basically, you only get to use, for your own enjoyment $.10 of every dollar you earn in San Fran!

So, if you read this blog a couple times you know I’m a fan of Detroit! Everyone loves a comeback story and Detroit might be the single biggest comeback story on the planet right now. Being at the top of this list just confirms what others in and around the Midwest have already been seeing.

Here’s the Top 10 in order:

  1. Detroit, MI
  2. Memphis, TN
  3. Pittsburgh, PA
  4. Cleveland, OH
  5. Indianapolis, IN
  6. St. Louis, MO
  7. Cincinnati, OH
  8. Birmingham, AL
  9. Kansas City, MO
  10. Louisville, KY

So, what jumps out about this list?  For the most part, it’s mid-sized, midwest cities.  Low cost of living. Four seasons. A lot of Applebee’s restaurants (at least that’s what the people on the coasts think!). One southern city on the list in Bham – which I hear from Kris Dunn and Dawn Burke is a hidden treasure.

I’m a midwest guy, born and raised. Went to college in the front range of the Rocky Mountains. Have visited every big city in the U.S., multiple times. Big cities are great, but not the best place to raise a family. California’s weather is awesome if you like paying $1 million dollars for 700 square foot home next to a highway.

The reality is startups and Fortune 500 companies are beginning to see what Glassdoor found in putting this list together. Google has a growing campus in Ann Arbor, MI, located about 40 miles from downtown Detroit, about 15 miles from the Detroit airport. It’s easier to attract and retain a Midwest workforce than it is when you’re primarily trying to recruit to the coasts.

This is especially true when your workforce starts to get to the age where they want to settle down, start a family and buy a house. Sure, it’s fairly easy to get college-aged kids to relocate from the midwest to California, New York or Boston. The trick is keeping them there! In Michigan, I see this every summer. The kids come back to have their weddings. Once they’re back, they begin to feel that pull to stay ‘home’.

This is why Midwest companies that are great at recruiting all have some sort of Boomerang recruitment strategy. Most are diving deep in their databases to find students who graduated over the past five years and building a database of 1-5 year experienced pros they are reaching out to constantly, ‘welcoming’ them to come back and enjoy the riches of the Midwest!