Full-time working women make 80 cents for every dollar paid to men. This does not take into account women of color, who compared to white, non-Hispanic men make between 53-77 cents. Only 46% of our survey respondents agreed that their company compensates fairly based on gender and/or race. This finding makes sense when you note that on average women make 78-82% of what their male counterparts bring in. We hope that you are the exception to this disappointing rule, the woman making the same if not more than her male colleagues, but just in case you find out that your male coworker is getting paid more than you, we’re sharing our tips on how to take action.
Your initial response may be anger, frustration, or hostility towards your coworker but it is important not to get mad. Rather, turn your anger into motivation and start doing research. Utilize tools like PayScale, Glassdoor, Salary.com, and 24 Seven’s salary calculator to determine the average salary for your title and begin putting together notes. You will find that researching salaries, job descriptions, and pay stats will not only properly equip you with the tools and knowledge you need to negotiate, but also allow you to know your value in your profession and career. After doing the research comes preparing for the conversation. We highly recommend role-playing the call in which you run through different scenarios and ensure that your research and facts allow you to feel confident and keep your cool throughout the meeting. This can be practiced in the mirror, with a close friend or colleague who you can trust and confide in, or with your mentor!
Now it’s time to talk
Once you feel prepared and confident, it’s time to talk to your boss. Approach the conversation as a negotiation for your salary based on your skills, experience, and what you’ve already done in the role and what you plan to do moving forward. This will allow for a more open communication about your salary.
Another approach to take would be to push for an evaluation and analysis of your company’s gender wage gap. If it’s an issue you are experiencing, others in your department and company may be experiencing the same without knowing it. This may seem like a large undertaking, but it will be a huge step in opening the conversation in your company. When going into the conversation with your boss, it is also important to have a plan b. As much as we hope to rehearse the entire conversation from start to finish in our head, there’s no way to predict exactly how it will go when you step into the room. Be prepared to revisit this conversation at a later date, know that answers and results may not come right away, but be confident in what you’re asking for.
Of course, not all conversations go the way we plan in our heads, so it is also important during your research period to observe other companies and see what they are doing when it comes to equal pay. For example, Salesforce conducts salary reviews on a regular basis to ensure pay equality, a Google employee created an ongoing public spreadsheet where employees can post and compare salaries, and constantly updates their transparent salary formula.
Many companies are updating their policies to educate employees and taking steps to implement equal pay. It is important not only to know the value of your role and skillset, but to know how your company values equal pay based on gender, race, and skills. Check out our full resource on salary negotiations and see below for additional resources for dealing with unequal pay in the workplace.
How to file a charge of employment discrimination with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission