Nordstrom Has Achieved 100 Percent Pay Equity

Brought to you by WBR Insights

The battle for equality in our society has rarely had more prominence than it does right now, and it can sometimes feel like we, as a people, are more fractured and divided than ever.

Back when the Suffragettes were battling for women's voting rights, or decades later when the civil rights movement was trying to eliminate the last vestiges of laws which kept white and black people separate in society, the people involved may never have thought we could have reached the levels equality we now have.

However, there is still a long, long way to go. Although most basic rights are enshrined in law, we must turn our attention to other inequalities in our society - including pay equity.

Pay Equity

Even though five decades have passed since the federal government passed the Equal Pay Act, there is still a significant wage gap between different demographics of people.

Most prominent of these is the so-called gender pay gap. In 2019, women earn on average 80.7 cents working full time for every dollar a similarly employed male does. This makes up median annual earnings which are, on average, $9,909 less than those earned by men. Progress is being made in addressing this disparity, but it's predicted that true pay equity will not be achieved until 2059 at the earliest.

"The gender pay gap exists for workers across a lifetime," reports Business Insider. "A recent analysis of Census data from the Minnesota Population Center's IPUMS program found that the median full-time, year-round male worker earns more than his female counterpart at every year of age. The gap is narrower for younger workers, with the median 25-year-old woman earning about 91 percent of the median 25-year-old man. Meanwhile, the median 50-year-old woman earns just 77 percent of her 50-year-old male counterpart."

Less talked about, but just as troubling, is the fact that there is also a pay gap issue in the United States along lines of race. PayScale recently conducted research of workers who held at least a bachelor's degree. To fully understand the differences in pay across racial and ethnic groups, we look at two different measures: the uncontrolled wage gap and the controlled wage gap.

The uncontrolled racial wage gap did not hold employment characteristics, such as job title or years' experience, equal when assessing income by race, comparing the median income for each group. The controlled racial wage gap, on the other hand, was a comparison of pay between white men and men of color who had the same job and qualifications. It's important to split the conditions in this way to try and eliminate any other extraneous variables which may affect the result.

It was found that, just like the gender gap, black men earned on average $0.87 for every dollar earned by white men. Hispanic and Latino men fared slightly better, earning $0.91 for every dollar, while Asian men sat at the top of the pile in terms of pay, earning $1.15.

Finding these figures troubling, department store brand Nordstrom wanted to accelerate the timescale for achieving pay equity.


The brand recently announced that it had carried out a large-scale revaluation of wages. It achieved this by looking at base salaries and assessing whether all employees carrying out similar work who had similar levels of qualification, experience, and performance were receiving equal pay.

After the companywide review, Nordstrom made the necessary adjustments to bring salaries in line with each other, something the company feels is essential to creating a work environment in which every employee feels the appropriate level of respect and value - based on their ability and contribution rather than arbitrary demographic information.

Nordstrom is now proud to state that it has achieved 100 percent pay equity across both gender and race, an important step in creating a fairer and more equal world.

Final Thoughts

The fight for equality in all corners of society is a noble one and with big brands such as Nordstrom leading the charge in this way, it can only be good for accelerating the timetable in which we can achieve global equity.

"At Nordstrom, we are constantly working to create an environment where employees can build long-term and rewarding careers," said Nordstrom's Chief Human Resources Officer, Christine Deputy. "As a part of this, we believe in paying employees fairly for the work they do, and we are committed to delivering on equal pay for comparable work. Paying our people fairly, regardless of gender or race, enables us to deliver on our commitment to an inclusive environment where we can all be ourselves, contribute ideas and do our best work."

You can hear Nordstrom's Director of Human Resources for Supply Chain Network, Brandy Lindsey, speak at HR Retail 2020, taking place in April at the Hilton Austin, TX.

Download the agenda today for more information and insights.