The recent salary differences revealed by the BBC and the pending Gender Pay Gap Reporting requirements have once more brought gender pay disparity to the fore.
In their book Why Women Don’t Ask, authors Linda Babock and Sara Laschever point out that males are brought up to value their “worth” in financial terms: “here’s £x go tidy up your room”. Girls, on the other hand, are told “be a good girl and tidy up your room”.
From the get-go, males are able to negotate from a position of greater strength. The result is cumulative. Women not only earn less whilst at work but end up with a reduced pension pot, too.
Heidy Rehman, a former equity research analyst is the Founder of Rose & Willard, also mentors career professionals. She says:
When it comes to pay the advice I offer is broadly the same.
Understand market rates and always have ready a clear, summary record of your performance and achievements as set against those rates. This will ensure that you always know your worth.
Don’t confine pay and performance discussions to annual and biannual appraisals. Make it at least a quarterly event, within a formal setting and with conversations confirmed subsequently in email. This will make it clear to your boss that getting paid market rate is important to you.
If you are a valued employee, s/he will not want you to be disgruntled and potentially looking elsewhere. Aside from losing someone who performs, managers are always measured in terms of retention of staff. And if you do decide to leave because of pay, they can never say they weren’t warned.
Heidy also has some advice for working mothers as returning from maternity leave is often when women’s pay really starts to lag behind that of their male peers.
This is mainly because career progression slows.
Basically the argument is that women are less likely to be promoted because they put in less facetime in the office. But longer hours doesn’t necessarily translate to higher productivity or better job performance. This is when I would argue that it is even more important to be armed with current evidence of achievement.
Ultimately when the conversation is centred specifically on performance, gender will become irrelevant and that is when equality will truly have been achieved.
Importantly, says Heidy, don’t ask for equal pay. Ask for what you are worth. You could be worth more.
The message is clear: Know your worth.
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