The Wage Gap is Alive
surprised - But what can we do?
The Census Data
has just been released – The Wage Gap between men and women still exists. In
particular, men outnumber women in high paying jobs.
While 13% of men
working full time make $75,000 or more, only 4% of women earn at this level.
The difference in
wages has been decreasing steadily, but what can we do to make sure that we
continue on the right path:
need to re-evaluate their compensation plans.
Do you utilize market surveys to determine what internal pay
structures will be? This can perpetuate the issue of paying less for positions
that have historically been dominated by females.
Instead, look at the requirements of the job like experience and
education and also the responsibilities.
Does the job require overseeing others and using creative
problem-solving or does the position have protocols in place for every task?
strengthen internal mentoring programs.
These programs can provide valuable access to informal information
about how to get ahead within an organization and can also provide exposure
that would otherwise not be available.
A strong mentoring program will increase the odds that women and
minorities will receive promotions.
Look at your
hire rate practices. Does your organization routinely ask candidates what they
were last making and then offer a hire rate just above that?
This can penalize women who have left the workforce for a period of
time. Their last salary will
not have kept up with the market. A better strategy is to place candidates into your wage
structure at a salary that is consistent with others with similar education
and experience in the role.
advocate for your career and wage. Know
what the going rates are for your position and ask to stay at a competitive
wage. If you don’t feel that you are being paid fairly where you
are then go somewhere else.
cheerleader for your own accomplishments.
Obviously you don’t want to go overboard with this one, forsaking
the team altogether. But, women
tend to devalue their accomplishments and are not nearly as good as men at
making sure that they get credit for their successes.
If you complete a project and are proud of it, make sure that your
boss knows. And let your boss’ boss know about it while you are at it too.
An easy way to do this is to send out a monthly status report of all
of your activities. Be sure to
include any specific outcomes as well For example, “implemented “X”
program which resulted in savings of $300,000 annually”.
When it comes time for a promotion you will be more likely to be
considered a strong contender right out of the gate.
If you do
leave the workforce for a period try to stay current in your profession
while you are gone. See
Womans-Work.com article Preparing
to re-enter the Workforce for strategies to help.
When you are
ready to re-enter the workforce, do your homework before you begin to
interview. Know what the going
wages are in your profession for the local area.
And when they ask you what you are looking to make or what your last
salary was, don’t tell them. Instead,
use either of the following strategies:
that you would like to make an equitable salary within their
organization and pay structure based on your experience, education and
anything else that you have to offer.
Use the Total
Compensation defense. Tell
them that you can not really quote a salary because you are interested
in looking at their whole compensation program as a package.
The health benefits, promotional opportunities, work environment
and chances to learn, among other things, will all factor in to the
salary that you would want. You can’t possibly give them an accurate figure without
having all of the relevant information.
current "Glass Ceiling Audits" and expand the requirements to
include a broader range of employers. Unfortunately, even though it is
the right thing to do, not all organizations will work diligently to
decrease the wage gap. The pain of staying the same has to be worse
than the pain of changing. The added pressure of avoiding an audit,
fines or lost business is an unfortunate necessity.
continue to look better. We’re
making great strides but there is obviously a long way to go!
Kirsten Ross is mother of two sons and is
a Certified Human Resource Professional (SPHR) dedicated to helping women
achieve more life balance and to transforming the design of work.
Visit Womans-Work.com at http://www.womans-work.com
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read valuable career, life balance and family articles. You may also email
her at mailto:KRoss@Womans-Work.com