Another year, another Equal Pay Day with disappointing statistics about the gender pay gap. Just this week, Hired released its findings on “The State of Wage Inequality in the Workplace,” which revealed that in the United States, men are offered higher salaries nearly two-thirds (63%) of the time for performing exactly the same role within the same company.
Just how much less are women making? Some of the companies surveyed in the technology industry were found to offer women up to 45% less for identical work. On average, women net 4% less than men in the same job. And these numbers show that nothing has changed since Hired asked companies these questions a year ago.
Sigh. Stats like these are evidence-based reasons why women should use Equal Pay Day — April 10, 2018 — as an impetus to negotiate for fair pay.
Fuel for the fire on Equal Pay Day
Before we get into some ideas on how to up your financial ante in the marketplace, let’s review a few other relevant findings that show why seeking gender pay equity is so important:
- Gender pay inequities occur across diverse industries. While the Hired report focused primarily on the tech industry, it compared the wage gap in other sectors as well. The research revealed that women in the finance industry and health industry fare incrementally better than their female peers in tech, earning 7% less than men. In education technology, the largest gender pay gap of all is seen at 10%.
- Race + sexual orientation + gender impact salary. Not surprisingly, some of the most discouraging findings emerged when examining the pay gap that women of color experience. Both black and Hispanic women earn just 90 cents for every dollar earned by white men. Interestingly, the wage gap does not hold true for LGBTQ women, with this group being offered slightly more (1%) than non-LGBTQ women.
- The wage gap expands with age. Hired’s data also found that the gender wage gap rises as a woman gets older. Millennial women make 97 cents per dollar that men earn in similar roles, while by their mid-thirties, women are asking for 2% less than their male peers but being offered 7% lower salaries.
Stealth strategies to close the pay gap
In an effort to shed light on this situation, Hired also explored women’s personal experiences with pay inequality, and compared regional differences and role variations in relation to the gap. In doing so, they revealed some ideas about actions that might help lessen the disparity:
Talk about it.
While it’s often an unspoken rule not to share salary info with your peers, swapping details about pay differentials may be one of the only ways to ferret out the truth in the case of gender inequities. The study found that more than half of female respondents (54%) discovered that they were receiving less money than a man in the same role. Two-thirds of these women gathered this information from having an open discussion with one or more colleagues about comparative salary figures. For this reason, Hired suggests that “transparent discussions about salary may be a catalyst to close the gender wage gap.”
Choose your location wisely.
While it doesn’t make a huge difference, the study revealed that the pay gap lessens in certain parts of the country and world. Some U.S. cities do slightly better than others, with women faring the best in the San Francisco Bay Area, which only has an 8% pay gap compared with 11% in Seattle and 10% in New York and Los Angeles. On a slightly less depressing note for American women, the pay gap between genders isn’t quite as bad in the States as it is in other global markets. (It is almost as bad, though.)
For example: Men in Toronto get offered more money than women for the same role at the same firm 69% of the time, while men in London receive higher offers 65% of the time. Men in Paris have the same advantage as American men, with higher pay offers 63% of the time. And the average gender pay gap in each of these locations is even larger than in the U.S. at 9%, 7%, and 6%, respectively.
Consider your role.
It’s rarely practical for mid-career women to shift gears in mid-stream to a new type of role just because it has less of a gender pay gap. But for younger women making decisions about their educational path or just starting their careers, it may be prudent to examine some trends and let those influence their professional decision-making.
For example: In the tech industry, the Hired research found that product management has both a stronger representation of women candidates for these roles than for other tech jobs — specifically data analytics, design, and software engineering. It also boasts the smallest gender wage gap for product manager salaries, at a relatively small 4% compared to the 8% of these other three positions. What’s more, product management roles are at the top of the heap for high pay, averaging out at $145K.
Ask for more.
While nearly 40% of those surveyed said that they believe company leaders are responsible for compensating people equally regardless of gender, Hired’s data also uncovered that many women are shortchanging themselves by asking for 6% less on average compared to men — in fact, two-thirds of the time, women are requesting less money.
If you’re undervaluing your accomplishments and falling victim to imposter syndrome (as more than a third of the study respondents said happens frequently to them), you may be asking for less than you are worth in the marketplace. Prove your value to yourself by researching the market rate for your skill set, industry, and location. Then present data points to your employer that reflect the evidence of this value and ask for what you deserve.
While progress is moving at a glacial pace, there are some changes happening that should help make a difference in the future. In California, a law passed to address the gender wage gap. It went into effect in January 2018 and it bans employers from asking candidates about their prior salary — a practice that has served in the past to pigeonhole women into lower pay bands. And the UK and Iceland recently adopted laws that require companies to prove that they pay both genders fair wages.
While we wait to see what impact these shifts will have on women’s salaries in these areas and if other states and countries will follow suit, women can use the occasion of Equal Pay Day to take actions like the ones above to advocate for themselves in the meantime.
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