What can you DO about your own pay gap?
There is a lot in the news at the moment about the gender pay gap. In the UK companies had a legal deadline to report by the 4th of April 2018. The findings were not surprising but definitely depressing. If you’re a woman, in the UK it doesn’t matter if you work in retail, utilities or in Financial Services – you’re almost certainly getting less money than a man - even if you’re doing the same job. Don’t believe me - there’s a site where you can look at any UK company with more than 250 people and see their reporting.
You can find lots of reasons why some companies defend these pay gaps ranging from “it’s a male dominated industry”, “its because of the impact of part time work” and the stereotypical - “women aren’t interested in management positions” – don’t get me started about this.
Unfortunately the simple truth is that the gap exists and until we make this unacceptable and transparent it will continue to be so.
So what can you do about your own pay gap?
If you’re starting a new job then realise that this is one of the very best times to negotiate your pay! Sure you might feel honoured that you were chosen out of lots of other applicants, but it’s up to you to make sure your new employer gives you a fair offer. So don’t just gratefully take what they offer you – negotiate!
What’s the best way to negotiate? Start by knowing what you are worth in the market – do some research – talk to a head-hunter and other people doing similar work – what is a typical pay range for this role – what defines the top and bottom levels?
Find out what are you really worth in this role!
Don’t be afraid to ask your future employer questions about their offer e.g.
What is the average pay in this department? What are the top and bottom pay bands? What influences which band I would fall into? When would my salary review take place? What determines my next salary increase – how can I influence it?
If your future employer is constrained, for example a young start-up business, or they want to start you on a lower wage until you have “proven yourself” then be prepared to suggest and look at alternatives e.g.
- Agree a starting wage and a plan to bring it into line with others in the department within a fixed timeframe
- Employee funded development – what certification would be useful for you e.g. for a project manager PMP, Prince2, Scrum Master etc.
- Negotiate an attractive Benefits package and/or Company stock options
Be prepared to ask hard questions and negotiate for what you are worth. You don’t have to come across as aggressive – just someone who is serious and knows her worth in the marketplace. If this feels uncomfortable then practice the conversation with a coach or a kickass friend.
Remember this is your best chance to negotiate your salary. You want to buy a house or an apartment, a new car, put money aside for your children’s education, your retirement etc – this is what you are negotiating for! Understand why you are doing this – what is at stake!
And what about in your current job? Your have three strategies here – ensure that your next salary review results in a step up and be prepared to ask for a raise and/or a promotion.
At your next salary review focus on what you did well. Unfortunately the statistics show that men tend to talk about their achievements whereas women often talk about what went wrong and what they have learned. So learn this – that’s not the way to get a pay grade jump! Go into your salary review prepared with all the wonderful things you have achieved in the year and the value of your contribution to the bottom line. Again do some research and be prepared to ask hard questions – as above.
And ask for a pay rise. If you can prove, with hard facts, that you are contributing more, have great responsibilities etc then you deserve to be bumped upwards.
Ask for the promotion: Make people know that you are interested in progressing your career, to the next level and beyond. Studies show that when there is a diversity of at least 20% in senior management then innovation really takes off. So both you and your company can benefit from your promotion!
And if the answer is “NO” then ask – what do I need to do to get a pay rise or promotion in the 6 months? – then do it, prove you’ve done it and then ask again! Don’t be fobbed off with excuses.
Until the gender pay gap is gone, we all need to do what it takes to close it -
for ourselves, for our sisters, for our daughters, for a better, fairer world.
Wishing you your deserved success and recognition
PS if you’d like to talk to me about your career please contact me at mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org