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Adobe's Path to Pay Equity: Laying the Groundwork by Investing in Data Accuracy

Achieving pay equity typically requires a strong foundation of accurate job data, and this is especially true for larger organizations. For Adobe, the global software company, embarking on a pay equity initiative meant taking a step back before analyzing pay to ensure employee roles were properly defined and valued. 

When Adobe began its pay equity initiative, the company realized there was more preliminary work to do than they had initially anticipated. 


Before we could analyze for fair pay, we had to be sure we were making fair comparisons,” said Rosemary Arriada-Keiper, Vice President of Global Rewards at Adobe. The first step was to update employee job descriptions to accurately reflect the roles and responsibilities of each employee. 


Once the job descriptions were up to date, the next step was to examine the company’s job levels or job architecture. While a job level or grading structure consolidating jobs that garner the same market rate can be easier to manage, Adobe’s engineering culture meant that employees preferred a higher level of precision. “Rather than just looking at groupings of jobs based on the market value for them, we looked at each job and level in isolation,” said Arriada-Keiper. That involved disaggregating existing job levels and applying a market-based structure that considered factors such as location, seniority level, and specialization within each job category to establish pay for each position.


Adobe’s detailed, granular approach took more time and effort, but it was worth it to build a strong foundation for their pay equity analysis that aligned with the company’s priorities. Arriada-Keiper explains, “Taking that extra time to update job descriptions and our job architecture also created an early opportunity to communicate about and establish buy-in for the pay equity project.

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