Ellen Pao, the interim chief executive officer of Reddit, is eliminating pay negotiations from the company’s hiring process.
The reason? To avoid discriminating against women who, she says, often can’t win salary talks.
In an interview with Wall Street Journal, Pao said the issue of sexism in the corporate world is very real, and women are still constantly being treated as inferior in the technology industry.
“When you look at the overall experience of women in the workplace, they are not succeeding, and that seems pretty clear-cut to me. So how do we fix that problem?,” Pao said.
In line with her attempt to create a workplace which offers equal opportunities for everyone, Pao has made diversity a priority during her tenure as CEO.
“Men negotiate harder than women do and sometimes women get penalised when they do negotiate. So as part of our recruiting process we don’t negotiate with candidates.”
“We come up with an offer that we think is fair. If you want more equity, we’ll let you swap a little bit of your cash salary for equity, but we aren’t going to reward people who are better negotiators with more compensation.
“We ask people what they think about diversity, and we did weed people out because of that.”
In 2012, Pao sued Kleiner Perkins, the well-known venture capital firm where she worked as a junior investment partner, alleging that she was not promoted because of her gender.
Though she lost the case, Pao acknowledges the case has reignited a conversation around gender discrimination issues.
“It’s moved into a broader discussion about people who are struggling to be treated fairly in their jobs, and not just in the U.S. I’ve also heard from people in Bangladesh, from Singapore, from China, from Taiwan, from Korea, from Tanzania.
“It’s something that’s global. I think it’s resonated with a lot of people, and it’s become a much bigger thing.”
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