The Gender Salary Gap – Is it Your Scapegoat?
The salary gap is a self-fulfilling prophecy as it serves as an excuse for women not to learn how to negotiate effectively.
According to the 2014 United States Census Bureau, the gender salary gap is as accordingly: women make $0.77 on the dollar to men’s salary. This equates to a decrease in weekly overall pay of $749.00 or yearly at $8,993.00. Now, what I am about to write may make you uncomfortable or dislike me, and yes some will shout out against my next comment and take the opportunity to let me know how unflavored my leadership is. However, the #1 reason for the gap is women do not ask for more.
I spent fifteen years in corporate America working with several Fortune Top 100 organizations in leadership roles and not once was the comment, Hey, hire a women because we can pay her less or If the candidate is a female give her 15-20% less salary. What I did hear, however, was an overwhelming lack of negotiation skills from women.
Today there are now talks of state and federal referenda focused on closing this gap based on the increase of minimum wage. I myself am not sure how this will shift the gap if women do not empower themselves to ask for what they are worth. No program or policy will work and why should it unless we are looking at just placing a bandage on the real issue.
Think for a moment…we are a competitive and capitalistic country forged on gaining the advantage. Organizations already have in place salary markers for job roles/titles. There are ranges set for the majority of positions within companies. If we open the salary view as to who is getting paid what, companies will have to place a price tag on talent and skills that are immeasurable. Those skills include negotiation, communication, empathy, emotional intelligence, personal power, influence, visionary leadership, and more. How do we measure who has more? The notion that two candidates are in fact equal, regardless of gender and/or ethnicity, is ridiculous. You are an individual and therefore bring a unique variety of skills and areas of development that are all yours. You should be paid for these immeasurable skills.
Salary negotiation is about your financial accountability to yourself. It is what you see your business worth to an organization. In all my years in corporate, to my knowledge, I was never underpaid or paid less because I was a woman. In fact, it was just the opposite, as I tended to be the top earner. Why? Self-value and negotiation. I should also note I learned how to negotiate from men.
These four tips have placed me above the salary curve. Stop being thankful and start being accountable to yourself and what you offer!
Always ask for more: Typically when a job is posted there is a salary range, unless noted in the original posting on salary requirements. This range is anywhere from 10-15% up or down. The lesson then makes sense to ask for 10-15% more than what is offered. However, be sure you are worth the increase, meaning before you ask for more, you have to understand what you bring to the table.
Understand what you bring to the table/organization: While you may have many skills in your toolbox, which ones are the most important for the company’s growth? What skills outside the job task can you offer? What can you negotiate with on your resume? This is the “why I will rock above the job listed” aspect of you.
Understand the market demand and pay scale: When you are interviewing for a position, a wise candidate comes prepared. What is the market (job, sales, economic) landscape look like? Are there hundreds of qualified applicants or just a few? What will the position bare in regards to salary? Do an Internet search asking, “what is the average salary for a Vice President of Sales and Marketing?” The results may surprise you.
Everything is negotiable, from salary to time off, benefits to stock options: If your salary requirement is rejected, go back and uncover the why behind the no. It may be something they are not seeing or you have not shown yet. If the rejection is due to budgets, then ask for something else. Look at benefits as a salad; do you want more lettuce (money), cucumbers (vacation time) tomatoes (stock options), dressing (educational benefits) etc.? What can the company add on to entice you to take the position?
We need to remember not only is the company interviewing you – you are interviewing the company. If they do not value you today (when they are trying to look shiny) they will not tomorrow when the glamour has worn off.
This article also appeared in Forbes.
Lauran Star is an author, consultant and in leadership diversity and women’s empowerment with over 15 years of leadership development with several top 100 companies. See more at Lauran Star.
Have more questions? Follow up with the expert herself.
Organizational Development Psychology -CEO of LS Consulting Group partnering with Human Resource Development in Retention, Diversity and Inclusion; Custom Training Programs and Leadership Development. Lauran Star, MAIO, is the founder of LS Consulting Group with over two decades of leadership and talent development experience with Fortune 100 and the United States Army. She understands what your organization is facing in today’s marketplace and has solutions that are based in the real world. Business Growth and Leadership... Continue Reading
Start your free membership to continue reading and learning from people who want to help you succeed.Sign up for free