Pay equity and data are key to a diverse tech workforce, says PagerDuty's Roshan Kindred
PagerDuty has achieved (almost) equal pay and re-commits to D&I in the face of layoffs.
PagerDuty has released its annual ID&E report, and the company is tracking above industry average in most areas.
Women account for 40% of global employees at PagerDuty, and 44% in the US – generally across the tech sector, women make up nearer to 25% of staff.
On the PagerDuty board, 44% are women and 67% non-white. By comparison, women hold 29% of board seats across companies in the US and Europe, and just 21% of seats are taken by non-white people.
At PagerDuty in the US, 38% of employees are non-white, which puts the company in line with the average for the US tech sector.
I spoke to the firm’s Chief Diversity Officer Roshan Kindred to look beyond the stats and explore how the company is achieving these numbers in a sector which is often white male-dominated.
PagerDuty didn’t set itself specific targets to achieve these diversity numbers. Instead, over the past 18 months since Kindred joined the firm, it has had the broader goals of building an ID&E mindset and accountability for diverse representation.
A core element of PagerDuty’s diversity strategy is data. As well as collecting data on gender and race/ethnicity for its ID&E report, the company also offers staff the opportunity to self-identify across a range of groups, including LGBTQ+ (9%), transgender (<1%), caregivers (43%) and people with disabilities (6%). Kindred says:
We’re a very data-driven organization. When we look at how do we retain the most women, how do we support our LGBTQ community, how do we support our disabled community, we look at the data.
The firm runs annual surveys and quarterly pulses to get the sentiment of its employees, which ensures its ID&E strategy is based on feedback as well as data, she explains:
From that feedback, we then dig a little deeper and look at focus groups. We have one-on-ones with teams, so that we're making sure that, again, the correlation between what the data is telling us, the hypothesis that we're driving, and then the execution of those initiatives all align to the feedback and the sentiment of our employees.
Pay equity, a big factor in retaining talent and building an equal and diverse workforce, is another area where PagerDuty is outperforming its peers. Women at the firm earn an average of $1 for every $1 a man earns. The average US women earns just 83 cents for every $1 a man earns, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.
PagerDuty staff from under-represented groups in the US also take home almost equal pay, earning $0.99 for every $1 their non-minority colleagues earn.
The company has been working on achieving pay equity for the past three-and-a-half to four years, and was very intentional about closing the gap. The benefits department worked closely with the people analytics team, under the leadership of Chief People Officer Joe Millitelo, to drive through equal opportunity benefits.
But despite success in this area, it’s very much a continuing journey, according to Kindred:
We are constantly looking to make sure not that we just achieved pay equity, but that we maintain pay equity. This is really important so that our employees know this is not just a goal that we were working to, but this is a philosophy and a mindset that we plan to maintain and keep year-over-year.
Some US states now require companies to report on their pay data, in the hope that pay transparency will lead to more equal salaries. For PagerDuty, pay equity goes hand in hand with pay transparency anyway, and so employees are already able to understand how their salary compares. Kindred says:
We have very robust training on what our pay scale and pay transparency looks like, and empowering our managers with the information to have those somewhat difficult conversations for individuals. We’re supporting that with our career architecture, career mobility and opportunities for stretch goals. It's bigger than just saying we're going to release your pay, but we're going to release our philosophy and the philosophy behind how we pay you.
This approach lets employees feel a sense of empowerment and accountability over their position, two factors in supporting employee retention, according to Kindred:
Employees feel like they are in control and in partnership of their careers, and that's the stance that we want all 'Dutonians' to take.
In the wider market, education is still needed on how people get paid and what the parameters are around that. No two individuals may be exactly alike, Kindred notes - but if they are, they should be paid exactly the same and be paid for what they're worth:
There's a fine line organizations have to walk. But with the help of their CEO, board and their leadership, that line should be very clear from an organizational stance.
PagerDuty will be boosting its ID&E mission this year with the addition of a new Elevate women’s ERG, building on its current women in sales and support (Wins) group and expanding on the six different ERGs it currently operates.
The Wins group was set up to provide a safe, collaborative and strategic atmosphere for women working within sales and support at the firm. Members put on functions and mentored each other, but outside of being an official ERG.
However, PagerDuty CEO Jennifer Tejada was impressed by the group and wanted to see the platform elevated globally for all women employees. With that backing from Tejada, Kindred approached the Wins leaders to understand their secret sauce, their successes and challenges. She says:
The successes outweighed the pitfalls. It was about career mobility, and having those candid conversations and then having some support to say, I want to elevate my career in this specific area, maybe it's product development. And then they were linking up with the leaders of product development for stretch assignments.
We saw that was a scalable concept, and so we put it into practise. I really see this ERG as a model for what other organizations can do to help elevate the voices of women and career mobility and career architecture.
I spoke to Kindred not long before PagerDuty announced its layoff plans, involving some seven percent of the headcount, mostly in the US. At the time, she expressed concern that where tech firms were cost-cutting, diversity and inclusion may be the first area that gets cut if an organization doesn’t see it as a business imperative.
When I reached out to ask how the layoffs will impact its ID&E mission, PagerDuty responded:
Our commitment to ID&E has always been central to PagerDuty's business and will remain central as we look to the future. There is no change to our commitment as a result of the layoffs.
And during our conversation, Kindred said she hoped that firms would make any layoff decisions equitably and that underrepresented populations didn’t become the target.
Based on PagerDuty’s swift response to diginomica on the issue of whether its own headcount reduction will impact ID&E, and its firm assurances over no change to its current strategy, it sounds like the company will be taking on-board its own advice here.