Topic of the Week Paycheck Unfairness
- Be confident.
- Know the pay range.
- Push past no.
- Get a job offer.
Women earn 77% of what men earn, this is up from 61 cents per dollar of a man's salary 50 years ago. But it's still not nearly enough for any woman earning only a fraction of what men earn for the exact same job. Which reminds me of a study by University of Chicago and NYU professors which looked at the salaries earned by men and women before, and after, their sex change operations.
Okay, stick with me for a moment here, because this study offers a unique insight on pay differentials between the sexes. Men who became women saw their pay drop 32%. While women who became men saw their salary increase 1.5%.
Remember, these are the very same people. Okay, mostly the same people. Given that women's salaries had increased 16% in fifty years, I did some calculations about when salaries would be equal. 2097. If you can't wait that long, I've got four strategies for getting the pay you deserve right now. This is mostly focused on women, but guys can learn from them too.
Know the pay range. I personally like Payscale.com, but there are a lot of salary web sites out there that can tell you the pay range, even in your geographic area. Before you even think about discussing salary, you need to know exactly where you stand.
Be confident. Okay, I'll probably get emails about this, but men and women tend to react differently to compliments. Men tend to accept them. While women tend to discount them, at least in my experience. So when your boss tells you what a great job you're doing, the average women will diminish their accomplishments. You can't do that if you want a raise. Be confident.
Push past no. Again, in my experience, women tend to hear "No" and think "Never." But when a man is told "No" when he asks for a raise he tends to hear "Not now." That's why you've got to learn to push past no to find out what you need to do over the next six months to get the raise next time. Ask your boss to be as specific as possible.
Get a job offer. Ultimately the only way to guarantee a raise is to have a job offer in hand for more cash. You can either leverage the offer into a raise at your existing company or you can jump ship to a bigger paycheck. Either way you win. However, this takes effort to look for a new job and there is a chance that your company could learn that you're feeling footloose and hold it against you. So this is not a risk free strategy. But it should mean more pay for you.
In researching this topic I learned that 40% of women are the primary breadwinners for their families. So this pay differential isn't about discretionary income, it's shrinking the gap so that millions of women and families can get the cash that they deserve. That they earned.
Bob Rosner is a best-selling author and award-winning journalist. For free job and work advice, check out the award-winning workplace911.com. Check the revised edition of his Wall Street Journal best seller, "The Boss's Survival Guide." If you have a question for Bob, contact him firstname.lastname@example.org.