SquareMouth in St. Pete closes gender pay gap by raising transparency

Posted at 4:38 AM, Aug 28, 2017
and last updated 2017-08-28 10:25:52-04

Free beer, liquor bar, bubble chairs that dangle from the ceiling, nap couches; plus 3-months paid maternity leave and lots of paid vacation. There are tons of perks to working at SquareMouth, an avant-garde travel insurance comparison engine in downtown St. Pete.

But the No. 1 reason national magazines Inc. and Fortune have called it one of the best workplaces in America for women?

No secrets.

At SquareMouth, they have full salary transparency and peer-based raises, two innovative ways companies are hoping to close the gender pay gap.

Click here to learn more about SquareMouth

Everybody knows what everybody else makes. And when it comes to raises, everybody decides what everybody else makes. Women currently make on average 20 percent less than men.

"You're not wondering what's going on behind closed doors," says SquareMouth's Carolyn Leckie, who previously worked in the TV industry. "You're not wondering how much do they get paid compared to how much I get paid."

If you think that sounds like Lord of the Flies -- the mob decides your fate, a criticism from transparency opponents -- Andi Oates says that's not the case.

Everyone is evaluated on performance and talent. She says the system works.

"As a woman in a male-dominated society, if you want to get ahead, you have to conform to those guidelines -- you have to speak and dress in a way -- and I don't feel any of that here," says Oates, who's spent her career in the insurance industry.

And oh yeah: THEY'RE HIRING.