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EPIC: Transparency and Uniformity in Pay Gap Performance

By Debra Logan | March 15, 2021 | 0 Comments


Generally accepted accounting principles, or GAAP, are a set of rules that encompass the details, complexities, and legalities of business and corporate accounting. The Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) uses GAAP as the foundation for its comprehensive set of approved accounting methods and practices.

GAAP is an external standard maintained by a trusted body.  The same thing is done the same way according to the same principles, year after year.  People who know the method can apply it and their work can then be verified by a third party applying the same principles.  It is regular, consistent, permanent, repeated year on year & done in good faith.  There is a trained body of practioners in financial accounting, audit and related disciplines.

We are making progress down the road of greater diversity, equity and inclusion in the workplace.  To keep moving down that road, we need a GAAP-like  standard for discovering, understanding and remediating pay inequality.  We need the EPIC framework.

Transparency and Uniformity

There is currently a lack of uniformity in data definitions, data collection, units of analysis and process.  There are inconsistencies in identifying key participants, data assessment and collection, privacy and options for conducting the statistical analysis.  There is no uniform methodology for doing pay equity audits.  There should be.

We are starting the ball rolling towards a standard with the EPIC framework, which we describe here ( and also on our website  Gartner’s EPIC Program — Call to Action to Achieve Gender Pay Equity, Debra Logan and  Christie Struckman, February, 2021

 We are setting out to prove that it can be done.  Will it be perfect?  No.  Will it need to be developed further and maintained?   Absolutely.  Is Gartner the right organization to own it for the long haul?  No!  We are not a standards body.  Gartner is, however, a brand that stands for objectivity and data driven advice.  The process that we are following in creating EPIC will be transparent.

The Evolution of EPIC

Gartner does not plan to remain at the centre of this.  EPIC and what it evolves into will be in the hands of a community, as an open standard.  A community standards approach enforces fairness and takes everyone’s needs into account.

There are many standards bodies in existence. (See a legalistic treatment here: They have been constituted for many difference purposes.  EPIC may fit into the remit of one or more of these or may require a new one.

The purpose remains the same.  The principles of  EPIC idea are that pay equity calculations be made according to a common set of definitions and rules. The rules will be maintained by an independent body. They will allow like for like comparisons. They won’t favour any one group or provider.  Most importantly, EPIC will be totally transparent, open and allow true like for like comparisons between organizations. In other words, EPIC is aiming to be a pay equity audit standard.  Like GAAP, if two independent groups use the same definitions, the same principles and the same method applied to the same data, the results should be the same.

Big ambition?  Yes! But we believe those are the only kinds of ambitions and objectives to have.  Watch this space!



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