The gender pay gap. Ugh, will we never stop talking about it? Hopefully the answer is NO until the gap no longer exists.
In 2019, women made $.79 for every $1.00 made by a man (a 21% gap). Oh, and women of color, you are even worse off at 26% less earnings on average than white men. This is “raw” average across the board and does not specify job level, industry, or experience. When those numbers are factored in, the pay gap is $.02.
Why the difference in the raw numbers?
There are still many barriers for women to get those higher paying jobs in lucrative industries. Some are cultural and others are chosen (women tend to step out of the workforce more for family caregiving, thus hurting their long-term income potential).
This article is not meant to rail against The Man. I’d rather offer some tips on how to lessen your personal pay gap. That means negotiating salary and raises effectively. Here are a few ideas.
- Research, research, research. Find out what the going rate is for the job for which you are applying. If the offer is less than that, ask for more. Cite the data for pay and remind the hiring manager about the skills and qualities you will bring to the job. The worst that can happen is they say “no.” It is highly unlikely an employer would rescind an offer due to a polite ask for more salary. It’s more likely the employer will want you, their first choice applicant, and offer to meet you somewhere in the middle.
- Ask for what you want based on research for similar jobs and experience. Don’t wait for their offer first. And, don’t base your ask on what you made previously (it may have been too low or too high). Also, leave your personal life out of negotiations. The five kids you are putting through college are not the employer’s problem to solve.
- As you gain certifications and job skills, ask for raises based on your increased marketability.
- Practice the conversation. Script out what you plan to say. Rehearse at least 5 times in front of a mirror or with a friend. That will keep the nerves down and your talking points front and center.
Think this is a problem that only you face? Guess again! Salary and raise negotiations are nerve-wracking. That’s why The American Association of University Women (AAUW) has an online course designed to help women develop some of these skills. You can find it at https://salary.aauw.org/. Now, go forth and negotiate – and put a bunch of money in your new 401(k)!