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Open Salary Surveys: Why?

Our updated Open Salary Spreadsheet, now available on our website for your contributions and review, has been creating lots of buzz across our professional community. Members of our Jewish professional community have been asking for an updated tool since we closed the first iteration of this Spreadsheet at the end of 2019, and here we are.

We want, however, to take some time to pause on the whys behind our commitment to the Open Salary Spreadsheet. The Gender Equity in Hiring Project has built this platform to serve our wider community of Jewish professionals, those who work at every level inside Jewish organizations, and we share this with and for you all because we are committed, first and foremost, to equity. We know that not every employee in our community has the capacity to benchmark and analyze their own salary, or the colleagues who can help them do it properly. We believe in equity which is treating each person differently, according to their need, and that may be based on their gender, their race, their socioeconomic class, or any other marginalization. Equity is grounded in principles of fairness and justice and includes having and providing fair and impartial opportunities within an organization or system. Our Open Salary Spreadsheet is a step toward this, as we make it available to our community so that we can strive together toward more equitable opportunities within our system.

We also appreciate that sometimes justice demands, for the purpose of equity, an unequal response. We know that folks around the Jewish community believe that we are wasting our time on this kind of employee-centered project, that the data here is subjective and as such, worthless, and that this kind of transparency isn’t truly the kind of help we need to make the changes we seek. We respectfully disagree.

We believe in the power of transparency, and that pay transparency takes time; we continue this work by handing the tools of transparency to Jewish communal professionals. We believe in treating everyone equitably, even when “equitable” can be difficult to achieve. Our approach is rooted in fairness, so that each person may be successful based on their unique needs. We distinguish fairness from equality, which is treating each person the same regardless of need. While equality may be our ultimate goal, equity is what will get us there. Additionally, we embrace honesty and openness so that trust may be cultivated and built through the sharing of information, knowledge, and challenges, both internally and externally. Transparency enables us to take risks and grow together and we know that when it comes to pay – money, salary, and budget – these conversations may be increasingly difficult. It is time for a dialogue about transparency concerning pay, compensation, and equity, even when such dialogues may be hard, we feel ill-prepared, and we don’t yet know what we don’t know.

We look forward to sharing with you our perspective on pay transparency, why talking about salary matters, and the values behind our work over the next few weeks. Stay tuned for a series of blog posts right here that will illuminate and illustrate GEiHP’s work, the thinking behind the Open Salary Spreadsheet project, and how we hope to invest you as our partners in talking about and making change.


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