Starbucks announced on Wednesday that it has achieved 100 percent pay equity for women and men, and employees of all races in the U.S. The company said it is now looking to achieve pay equity for employees globally.
"The gender pay gap is real and Starbucks is committed to not only talking about it but addressing it," said Lucy Helm, Starbucks executive vice president and chief partner officer, speaking at the company's annual shareholder meeting in Seattle. Her announcement was met with thunderous applause from the audience.
"We believe it is important, as company of our scale, to help bring more attention to this critical issue," Helm said.
The coffee chain said hitting this milestone was the result of years of work and commitment, and involved steps such as creating tools that make compensation decisions more subjective and not asking job candidates about their salary history.
Starbucks has long made employee benefits a priority, offering comprehensive parental leave and sick time benefits.
"Starbucks has consistently outperformed our industry in terms of pay equity, but it is incumbent upon us to do more," Helm said.
In 2016, U.S. women working full time were typically paid 80 percent of what men were paid, according to Census Bureau estimates.
According to Helm, the gap is even worse in the retail sector, with women typically making 70 cents on the dollar compared with men.