We would all hope that in 2022 the workplace landscape would finally be a level playing field for both men and women across the board. Unfortunately, though, the data doesn’t match the hope just yet. Women are still paid significantly less than their male counterparts across industries, including in the contact center.

It’s important to acknowledge, study, and understand the current climate. But it’s also important that we look for ways to empower women to help overcome these hurdles, as the benefits are fruitful for everyone.

In this article, we want to do two things. First, we want to look at the current state of affairs for women in the contact center, specifically looking at a recent study about gender pay gaps from the Conversation Excellence Lab (CEL) at Balto. Second, we want to share some encouraging tips for women and employers to help promote fair pay in contact centers.

Study Results Snapshot – The Wage Gap is Still Prevalent

The CEL study looked at survey results from over 2,000 contact center workers. When it came to wage gaps, here’s a sample of the average pay results:

  • Avg. Salary Front-Line Men: $75,732
  • Avg. Salary Front Line Women: $64,537
  • Avg. Salary Leadership Men: $89,670
  • Avg. Salary Leadership Women: $71,233
  • Avg. Hourly Front Line Men: $19
  • Avg. Hourly Front Line Women: $17
  • Avg. Hourly Leadership Men: $23
  • Avg. Hourly Leadership Women: $20

As you can see, the wage gap for contact centers is unfortunately still alive and well. The study goes further to reveal that the results don’t get better with higher education or age. Additionally, it shows that the largest gap exists for women of color.

How We Can Work to Improve the Problem

While we could spend a lot of time dwelling on the negatives of the study, we’d instead like to focus on a few ways that employers and women can work to improve the situation. Here are a few tips to start moving the needle in the right direction.

Tips for Women

  • Know your worth. One of the most interesting results from the CEL wage gap study was that women and men shared nearly the same level of satisfaction with their pay. This suggests that the gap may be invisible to many women, putting awareness at the top of the list of ways to correct imbalances. It’s often a faux pas to talk openly about wages. But being transparent with your colleagues, and asking for transparency in return, can actually benefit all.
  • Always work to better yourself. While the real change should come from higher ups, you can help to make your case for equal pay, or even higher pay, better by making yourself the strongest candidate. Look into continuing education, certifications, training, and other opportunities to set yourself apart. All things the same, you should be paid equally, regardless. But having additional credentials makes an argument against a raise that much harder to contest.
  • Speak up. If you feel like you’re getting the short end of the stick compared to your male counterparts, tactfully speak up. Ideally, this issue is fixed from the top down, but the reality is that it may take some encouragement from the bottom up. Garner support from colleagues to show solidarity in numbers and amplify your voice.

Tips for Employers

  • Consider not using an employee’s pay history to determine their compensation. By doing this, we can help stop the perpetuation of past discrimination. Many states, like Nevada most recently, are already enacting laws prohibiting employers from asking about this information.
  • Conduct pay audits regularly. As mentioned, the presence of a wage gap may not be as apparent for many women in the call center. By that same token, it may be invisible to managers and key leaders who aren’t regularly auditing their operations to look for issues.
  • Remove any punishments for discussing wages. This is already illegal in most areas, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen. Train your hiring staff, managers, and key leaders to be on the lookout for this type of behavior.

The Bottom Line

With some proactive work from the right people, it is possible to see the landscape for men and women level out. Not only does this make the workplace fairer for everyone, but it also helps businesses succeed. When your employees are happier and properly taken care of, they can focus on things like providing the best work possible to produce the greatest results for the team.