You’ve probably heard the sobering statistics: women earn less money on average than men for comparable jobs. According to the Institute of Women’s Policy Research, in 2015, women earned 80 cents for every dollar earned by men in similar jobs. The whys and hows of the gender pay gap are a political football—everyone appears to have an opinion on why that is, or even whether the pay gap exists at all. While we’ll save that debate for another day, let’s focus on the numbers and see how women can overcome obstacles and pay gaps to boost their own wage prospects.
Be your own advocate
The first step is to recognise that you are the one who must carry the ball. Nobody is going to hand you a big check and tell you, “You know what, you deserve more money.” “Take it!” It will very certainly be up to you to help ensure that you get reimbursed as much as possible, no matter how great you are at your profession or how far you’ve gone recently.
Praise and recognition do not always equate to a greater wage. Once you realised that it was up to you to make sure you were getting paid what you were worth—and that you were taking positive, proactive efforts to do so.
Negotiate every time
Women simply do not negotiate at the same rates as males, according to Margaret A. Neale, a Stanford-based leadership expert. In contrast, according to Linda Babcock, author of Women Don’t Ask, although 57 percent of males negotiate their salaries, only approximately 7% of women do. Seriously, 7% of the population! Everyone, men and women equally, appears to need to negotiate more, but especially women. It’s the equivalent of closing a door without checking to see if anyone is inside. How do you know if you have a chance to raise your pay if you haven’t even tried?
Don’t think that negotiating your salary is only for new job offers; you should do so at every opportunity, including annual reviews, after going above and beyond at work or successfully taking on new responsibilities, and/or when you discover that your market value is higher than your current salary level. There are also many gurus on the internet who have perfected their negotiation skills and want to share their knowledge with other ladies. Once you’ve conquered any apprehensions about going in there and playing the bargaining game, you’ll have started advocating for yourself and your salary goals in the finest and most simple way imaginable.
Start looking for new opportunities
If you’ve tried negotiating and still aren’t getting what you want, it’s time to consider transferring firms. Hired.com looked into compensation disparities at various types of businesses and discovered some interesting information on the sad traditional salary gap. Smaller and fledgling businesses, it turns out, are less likely to have huge wage discrepancies than larger, more corporate businesses or those that have been around for a longer time.
What was the thought process behind this? Small businesses, on the other hand, have more insight over salaries, which acts as a leveller. Employees have an employee relations incentive to keep things more equal if they know Frank two desks away is making more for the same job. Another intriguing point was that startup (or “seed stage”) organisations may have less pay inequality since they have less salary flexibility, thus they can’t afford to pay one person significantly more than another in the same function.
So, how does this affect your own pay? Consider whether there are companies in your field that can offer you a higher salary—less well-known organisations that you may not have explored previously.
Think outside the box
If you’re unhappy with your current salary, you might want to consider changing jobs. Women are underrepresented in areas such as logistics/trucking, manufacturing, and information technology, which are all rising. Many women possess the foundational abilities required for these “middle-skill” occupations (which frequently do not require a college diploma), but they do not pursue them at the same rate as men. One of these industries might be a good fit for you if you’re searching for additional prospects to go into higher-paying positions. (But don’t forget to negotiate!)
The good news is that numbers can help us understand what’s going on, but they don’t have to define who we are or what we do. When it comes to your own career and aspirations, there’s no excuse to accept the status quo. If you’re a woman who wants to increase her earning potential, there are resources available to assist you. We can start improving those statistics one closed gap at a time if more women take charge of their salary destiny and start using all of those options.