Working 9 to 5: helping companies pay fair

Maryann Kongovi
3 min readMay 12, 2021


Photo by Malvestida Magazine on Unsplash

I recently listened to a podcast looking back at the hit comedy 9 to 5, 40 years on. I had vague memories of watching it on TV as a kid, and remembered it as a slapstick kind of deal. So I was pretty surprised when I watched it again with my 2021 eyes. It is, in fact, a biting social commentary. It didn’t shy away from tackling sexual harassment and discrimination in the workplace. (Oh and don’t forget, dynamite performances from Dolly Parton, Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin.)

What’s even more striking all these years later is that despite the fantastical storyline (which I won’t spoil), the notion of equal pay was laughed off as a ridiculous idea. While I don’t think anyone is laughing about pay inequities now, we know they’re hard to tackle. As Marc Benioff discovered, companies that are committed to fixing this are faced with a complex and laborious process.

So I was intrigued to meet the team over at Pave. They have been building tools to help companies solve this problem, and already count Affirm, Allbirds, and among their customers.

As someone who has run compensation cycles, I was intrigued. I knew from personal experience how tough it was to get good data. I also knew how hard it was to bring it all together, and help managers and employees alike understand how competitively they were being paid. Even well-intentioned leadership teams can’t ensure pay equality if they can’t see the gaps buried in spreadsheets or silos. I tried to solve this by chasing down my colleagues with multiple versions of a master spreadsheet, so they could see the summary data but nothing beyond their own team. At the point that I had eight different files, plus a half dozen post-it notes to capture updates and last-minute revisions from multiple Slack threads, I knew there had to be a better way.

It also reminded me of my own journey negotiating compensation. At the first start-up I joined, my hiring manager was so stunned by my complete failure to negotiate my offer, that he unilaterally increased my base pay on the spot. We also know from countless research studies, that the hesitation of some to negotiate leads to massive pay differentials over a lifetime. This is where Pave’s tools help. They give candidates a holistic view of their offers, including cash, benefits, and the potential value of options. They also help recruiters ensure offers are competitive, and consistent with the rest of the team. Let’s be honest, it’s hard to negotiate what you can’t visualise or sometimes, simply don’t understand. (Many start-up hires are new to options, and all the fun nuances that they entail.)

So it is with considerable joy that I’m joining the team at Pave. If you’re curious about how we can help you take care of your people, please shout. We’re working on it 9 to 5 (and 5 to 9).

Pave is on a mission to build the world’s best compensation tools and easily accessible market data so companies can plan, communicate, and benchmark in real-time.