5 Steps Women Can Take to Overcome the Payment Gap

Erica Yitzhak

The gender pay gap statistics for 2015 are unquestionably better than 30 or 40 years ago but there is still a ways to go before things completely even out. By taking a number of proactive steps, you can give yourself the best probability of beating the odds. These 5 steps will not only help you get equal pay, but also help you monetarily surpass your male and female peers alike.

Here’s what you need to know:

Understand the Landscape: The first step you can take to beating the gender pay gap is to understand what you’re up against. The census data from 2014 shows that women earn $0.78 for every $1 that men earn. But certain fields and industries consistently pay women better than others do. Women financial specialists typically only make 66% of what men make while pharmacists and nurses make nearly 90% of what men do. There are other steps you can take to close the gap, but understanding the challenges you face in your industry is an important first step.

Negotiate Early: A Catalyst study in 2011 showed some startling results for new female hires. Only half of men and women have countered their most recent initial offer, but only 31% of women did on their very first offer out of grad school (compared to 50% of men). If you fail to negotiate your first offer, you’re unquestionably disadvantaging yourself over the course of your career. Every raise and every bonus will be smaller because you are starting from a smaller base. Although men and women could both do more to negotiate their salary, new female hires need to do more to more aggressively close the pay gap.

Speak Up: Most women aren’t aggressive enough in countering their initial offer and the same holds true for speaking up once you have the job. If you aren’t aggressive about asking for opportunities, you’re going to get noticed less often and you are going to advance at a much lower rate than your more confident go-getting peers.

Push for Promotions: Opportunities for advancement will not just fall into your lap. But you also don’t want to randomly ask for a promotion when the request isn’t appropriate. Be selective about the times you want to push for a promotion, be strategic about the audience you tell, and make sure to stick to the facts about how you’ve helped the company. Save the self-congratulations for when you’re away from the workplace.

Be an Active Employee: If you have a consistently open relationship with your manager, you are much more likely to be recognized for your accomplishments. Seeking feedback is also critical; you want to know what you’ve done well and what you can do better. If you strive to consistently improve and get feedback, you’ll accomplish better work and get noticed for it in the process!

Image courtesy of http://businesstech.co.za/