How To Fix The Gender Gap in Service Providers: 7 Tips from IguanaFix Founder

Rosie the Riveter may be an iconic American image of a woman working a non-traditional job, but this is not the norm across the globe. Women are not always paid the same as men in fields of home improvement service. One innovator wanted to change all that.“We truly believe that people who do the same job should get paid the same.“It’s a simple concept and one Matias Recchia, founder and CEO of IguanaFix, says prompted him to start a gender-blind home improvement enterprise in 2013 that delivers through an on-demand mobile app, similar to Uber.[bctt tweet=“Women are not always paid the same as men in fields of home improvement service #GenderEquality” username=“takeleadwomen”]Today IguanaFix is the leading service provider in that niche across across Latin America with 25,000 service providers to date in Argentina, Brazil and Mexico, with eyes on the U.S. market. The service providers, who do everything from electrical work to carpentry and plumbing work, perform 35000 service jobs per month.Recchia, based in Buenos Aires, says he saw an unconscious bias in his business that he calls “Uber for the home,” when people would opt to choose a male plumber over a female plumber without knowing anything about the work of either candidate.“We actually see that women who do this job tend to be more careful about paying attention the details,” he says. And the 7,000 women who are electricians, repair workers and contractors earn higher ratings, an average of 4.8 starts out of 5, compared to men, who earn an average of 4.5 stars.“They may have a bias before about women,” Recchia says,  but that evaporates after the service is provided.In the U.S. for instance, many service providers use the term “handyman” in their title as the assumption is workers providing home improvement will always be male. According to the Department of Labor 2010 statistics, only 1.5 percent of electricians in the U.S. were women, with 6.3 percent of those providing installation, service and repairs were women.[bctt tweet=“The term handyman assumes workers providing home improvement will always be male #parity” username=“takeleadwomen”]Such services by all providers are in demand. For instance, Angie’s List, founded by Angie Hicks, has 5 million members, an increase in 2017 of more than 50 percent from 2016..Recruiting women to become contractors for IguanaFix, Recchia says he and his team go into low income neighborhoods and also stress flexibility of hours that is exceptionally helpful for single mothers.“You don’t have to be a big company like Google with a kindergarten on campus to do these things, any company can be an agent of change,” says Recchia, who says his company name is a play on words for “I Wanna Fix.”Prior to launching this company, Recchia was the head of Vostu, the largest social and mobile gaming company in Latin America. And before that, Rechhia worked with McKinsey & Company and Procter & Gamble. A former columnist with Forbes, Recchia earned an MBA from Harvard Business School.His experience growing up watching his mother and sister struggle with stereotyped roles for women also contributes to his push to close the gender wage gap.With 60 percent of customers seeking home improvements and repairs, “having a company of mostly guys is stupid,” Recchia says.IguanaFix’s C-suite is also filled with women. Carola Lavia is the chief financial officer of IguanaFix.[bctt tweet=“There are things any company can do to close the wage gap & reach #parity” username=“takeleadwomen”]There are tactical things that any company can do to close the wage gap and reach parity in all leadership positions, Recchia says. This is the mission as well, as Take The Lead, with the goal of leadership parity by 2025. Recchia advises these tips to make that happen.

  1. Standardize salary levels. “It is not about how much I get paid, it is how much the CEO gets paid. There needs to be a standard compensation level for every role.”

  2. Set objectives. “Decide what is great performance for a role and define these before you put a name to a role.”

  3. Set quotas. “At least 10-20 percent of your workforce should be women. Find creative ways to fill the quotas.” The goal is ultimately 50-50.

  4. Create opportunities for role models. Put them out there in your company and do that across all levels.

  5. Push women to lead. We need to choose women who may culturally fell uncomfortable and help them to be in that position and provide support for them and help them to prepare for leadership.

  6. Provide work flexibility. If in sales or quality assurance, you can offer two shifts of four hours so a woman can work while her children are in school.

  7. No male or female roles. “We need to get away from the idea that some jobs are meant for women and some jobs are meant for men. Smart people get paid the same for the same jobs.”

A contractor registered with IguanaFix can make up to $2,000 a month for part time work on her schedule, or as Recchia says, at least three times what she could make working part-time in a retail outlet like Starbucks.While he is busy building IguanaFix in Latin America, Recchia says the U.S. is a prime market for this initiative. Every company and organization needs to strategize to close the wage gap. “If you are not at 50/50 in leadership, push yourself to get there.”