By Laura Colby

Pay audits often reveal broader issues in the workplace, such as the lack of women in a particular job category. “Pay equity is a great tip-of-the-spear analysis, because it can open up a broader range of areas that need to be addressed,” she said. “Maybe we can explain away the entire pay gap, but that doesn’t mean the work is done.”

For instance, women make up just 18 percent of all software developers, according to the Institute for Women’s Policy Research. In that category, they earn 20 percent less than men. At Google, women hold 19 percent of technical jobs, according to the company’s web site.

Some shareholders want companies to pay workers fairly, and have stepped up pressure. In the 2017 proxy season, investors have filed at least 18 pay equity proposals, according to ISS Corporate Solutions. That compares with 13 in 2016 and just one in 2015, the first year ISS recorded such actions.

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