Why did we start Pequity?

Why do people work?

If you think about it, it’s crazy – most of us wake up early, drag ourselves from warm beds, travel to concrete boxes with windows away from family and friends, where we sit next to strangers and agree to perform coordinated tasks towards a goal we may not have even helped set. We do this for the majority of hours in a day, the majority of the week in a year, the majority of years of our lives.

So, why do we do it? We’ve all heard the research that intrinsic motivators are the main reason someone works— but I’d bet most accountants, auditors, and shelf stockers out there would agree their job doesn’t exactly give significant emotional fulfillment.

This question first came up years ago when I was pursuing my Master’s of HR, which inspired me to make a list of what I personally found motivating. On that list I had health, family, friends and purpose. And that’s when it clicked — funny enough, money played a large role in maintaining each of these items. To have better health, I need shelter, food, clothes, medicine. All of which have a cost. To ensure my family is healthy, those same costs multiply. For friends or things that give me a purpose – dinners, trips, hobbies – they often have a fee. When I think of why I work, it’s to earn money for better health, more quality time with family and friends, and more access to education or opportunities that give me a sense of purpose.

Armed with these assumptions and aspirations, I dove into the field of compensation to help provide motivation and pay to live better lives. What I found, however, was a world of spreadsheets and chaos.

The truth about compensation is that a company can pay whatever they want as long as it’s above the minimum wage. There is no law that says if Google pays a software engineer $200,000 a year that every company has to pay the same amount. Company’s decide what to pay based on market data, some governing laws on pay equity, and their own financials. However, if a software engineer has two offers, it’s likely they’ll accept the better paying one. Knowing this, companies negotiate for the best people, and also constantly second guess if they are paying people too much or too little. Employees are left wondering if they are paid fairly.

Traditional compensation processes have “worked” in that people receive paychecks for an agreed amount each month. However, lack of data, efficient processes and tools has led to many companies (1) unintentionally underpaying women and minorities, (2) implementing non-transparent, “black box” pay programs, and (3) spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to manage pay programs or correct for pay mistakes (often including overpaying talent!).

The more I built compensation programs and teams at the companies I worked with, the more I realized the solution was simple, but not easy:

Companies need a network-based and data-based tool to improve their pay decision accuracy and efficiency.

And so, Pequity was born.

Pequity’s goal is to enable better pay decisions and to decomplicate compensation. Our tools are built based on industry best practices using a data-backed approach. We work directly with companies to provide advice, and create scalable tools to solve compensation concerns. Through our systems, we help reduce employers’ time spent on compensation, while increasing pay parity for employees, and reducing cost for companies. And we just got started!

If you were to come to Pequity and ask why we work, our team likely have different answers (which we love and encourage!). But if you want to know why I work and am building Pequity, it’s simple – I want to help companies build pay programs that enable fair and competitive pay practices, so everyone can live a better life.

Interested in learning more about making informed, purposeful pay decisions? We’d love to hear from you. Click here to send us an email – we read every letter that comes our way, and love to geek out on compensation.

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Kaitlyn Knopp

Kaitlyn is a renowned compensation expert, with experience as an analyst and leader of compensation teams in the tech industry with companies including Google, Cruise, and Instacart. Her passion for equitable compensation and efficient systems led her to create and launch Pequity, built on the principles of fair pay and opportunity for all.


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