According to a Pew Research report, the gender pay gap will close among millennials entering the workforce by 2020. While women currently in the U.S. workforce earn 79 cents for every dollar a man earns, women aged 25-34 have seen increased wages by an average of 13% over the past 30 years. The same male cohort has seen a wage drop of 20%. The ratio of women earning graduate degrees and JDs is higher than ever, and the current generation's young women will start their career salaries at near parity with their male counterparts.
This will have significant implications for your firm. While the predominantly white male make-up of your firm’s leadership may not message a diverse work environment, there are several initiatives that can better position you to attract and retain the best and brightest of the incoming workforce.
1. Mentoring/Sponsoring Programs: You will have a much easier time recruiting and retaining women if you can provide them with female business leaders as mentors and other executive leadership members as sponsors.
2. Leadership Programs: Whether you handle this internally or outsource to a consulting firm, make sure you offer some sort of forum that trains and empowers leadership among your female recruits and rising stars.
3. Business Development Training: There is an inherent value to your firm when your female business-getters network with the women decision-makers on the client side of the equation. And make sure your business development training is at least co-facilitated by a woman who understands the nuances between male and female rainmaking.
Yet, given improvements, both men and women alike say “more changes are needed to give men and women equality in the workplace.” If your firm isn't "leaning in" already, it's high time to prepare yourself for a new normal. Those who are underprepared should talk to a consultant who specializes in women's initiatives. We have a few on our faculty with this expertise.