4 Ways to Shrink Your Wage Gap

What to do if you think you’re paid less than your male colleague?

Realizing you’re paid less than your male peer can be a hard blow. It saps your confidence. It can strain your relationships – not to mention crush your productivity and morale. Recently I had the chance to weigh in on this critical issue with Juliana Reyes of the Philadelphia Inquirer, in a piece where 6 brave women shared their pay inequity stories. I offered tips on how to combat the wage gap, which are summarized below.

Know the going rate.

If you squirm at the thought of asking your colleagues exactly how much they’re making, then pivot your request slightly. Try asking how much they’re hoping to land in terms of a percentage of their raise or how much they made when they first started at the job. You can also ask the range they hope to fall within at review time. It helps if you have evidence to share, such as the latest salary report for your industry. Remember: Employers can’t legally tell you not to discuss salary. While you’re at it, check out industry data from trade associations, industry competitors, and websites such as Glassdoor and Payscale. If a headhunter calls you with an opportunity (even if you’re not interested), always talk to the person, as it’s a great way to see what employers are offering for someone *like you* right now.

Prep before you make your ask.

Schedule a meeting with your manager just as you would for an important project. Come in prepared and ready to make an objective case for yourself. Data is important here. But so is framing. Don’t open with talk about the wage gap or what your male colleague Mark is making. (If you do, it could encourage your manager to begin telling you all the reasons Mark is wonderful or exceptional). Instead, focus on yourself. Have a list of your accomplishments at the ready. But make sure to give yourself time to prep. Even if you’re rightfully enraged about being underpaid, a drive-by negotiation rarely ends up getting anyone the results they want.

Figure out a plan in case you get a “no”.

If you get pushback, don’t slink away defeated.  Engage your boss and elongate the conversation. One woman executive I talked to described getting a ‘no,’ and then asking what, exactly, her boss needed that he wasn’t getting in terms of her skills. Pushing for that specific information, and then working on it, landed her a major promotion and pay raise not long thereafter.  Another way to frame this is, “What are the conditions that need to be true for me to move up/increase my pay?”

Analyze your wage gap with a lawyer.

If you feel you’re being discriminated against, don’t be shy about talking to an employment lawyer. Do your own research and study the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s website (it’s the agency that enforces the Equal Pay Act). Familiarize yourself with the Commission’s rules: For example, if you want to allege discrimination, you have to compare yourself to another role that’s considered “substantially equal.” Know that if you formally file a complaint, your name will be attached to it. It’s important to first read about others who have fought a wage gap and been through the process so that you can make an informed decision.

Thankfully, not all companies are turning a blind-eye to pay inequity.  In fact earlier this month I wrote in Forbes about six innovative ways companies are attempting to flatten the wage gap. Check it out and chime in with your ideas below!

Facebook
Facebook
Twitter
LinkedIn
Pinterest
Follow by Email
Selena Rezvani

Selena Rezvani is a recognized consultant, speaker and author on women and leadership.  A seasoned human capital consultant, Selena uses workplace culture assessments to help corporate clients be more inclusive and welcoming to women.  She’s also the author of two leadership books targeted at professional women – Pushback: How Smart Women Ask—and Stand Up—for What They Want (Jossey-Bass, 2012) and The Next Generation of Women Leaders (Praeger, 2009). Selena has been featured in the LA Times, Oprah.com, Todayshow.com, Forbes, and wrote an award-winning column on women for The Washington Post.

Facebook
Facebook
Twitter
LinkedIn
Pinterest
Follow by Email
25 Questions to Ask a Mentor

Whenever I’m asked “What are some of the best questions to ask a ...

Four Types of Questions To Ask Your Mentor

Have conversations with your mentor gotten a bit repetitive lately? Perhaps you approached ...

25 Songs For Your Leadership Playlist

What are your all-time favorite leadership songs — the ones that make you ...

How to Shut Down a Colleague Who Takes Credit for Your Work

Has this ever happened to you? You’re in a meeting and the unthinkable ...

5 Ways to be a Leader, Not a Manager

Have you ever wondered about the difference between a manager and a leader? ...

11 Leadership Lessons Learned

Here are 11 lessons I’ve learned about leadership—mostly from much-admired colleagues, and just ...

10 Killer Leadership Skills: The Great Differentiators?

Last week at Hallmark I hosted a couple gentlemen from a partner company. ...

Influencing Without Authority—Using Your Six Sources of Influence

I am in the difficult situation of being unofficial project lead, responsible for ...

9 Traits of Exceptional Leaders

Truly great leaders are hard to come by, but it seems everyone thinks ...

100 Leadership Qualities

What are your leadership strengths? That’s a question I ask in a survey ...

How to Ace the Q&A (When You Don’t Know the Answer)
How to Ace the Q&A (When You Don’t Know the Answer)

Even the most confident communicators can fumble when fielding unpredictable questions in front of an

7 New Rules of Teamwork
7 New Rules of Teamwork

Have you ever been on a team project where you didn’t make much of a

The Top 5 Most-Read Articles This Month
The Top 5 Most-Read Articles This Month

Here’s what other emerging leaders have been reading at BeLeaderly this month. If you feel an

Leaderly Quote: Keep you mind where your feet are…
Leaderly Quote: Keep you mind where your feet are…

Keep you mind where your feet are. —Lori Wren Elerts

4 Steps to Becoming a Powerhouse Public Speaker
4 Steps to Becoming a Powerhouse Public Speaker

Want to expand your reach as a leader? Deloitte partner Jennifer Knickerbocker has a tip

How to Get Over Your Pre-Presentation Jitters
How to Get Over Your Pre-Presentation Jitters

It’s no wonder that for many people, the fear of public speaking registers as more terrifying

Emerging Leader Spotlight: Lisa Bogart
Emerging Leader Spotlight: Lisa Bogart

Every month we ask an emerging leader we admire to share what they’re doing to

Leaderly Quote: Find the fire within you…
Leaderly Quote: Find the fire within you…

“Find the fire within you that burns through all blocks and fears.” —Ashley Turner

10 Signs You Need a New Job—Fast
10 Signs You Need a New Job—Fast

When GoBankingRates asked about the warning signs that it’s time for a job change, I

Emerging Leader Spotlight: Cara Wulf
Emerging Leader Spotlight: Cara Wulf

Every month we ask an emerging leader we admire to share what they’re doing to

Ask Jo: How can I thank my mentor?

Question: I have an incredible mentor. She ...

Teamwork is a Skill. It Takes Practice!

Everyone wants to lead, or be a ...

It’s Worth the Risk (I promise)

This is Sarah. She’s one of my ...

100 Leadership Qualities

What are your leadership strengths? That’s a ...

Leaderly Quote: Great Leaders Know When to Step Aside

“Great leaders know when to step aside.” ...

At Be Leaderly, our mission is a simple one: To provide proven career strategies that help you lead, climb, and thrive as a rising woman of influence. If you’re ready to lead, we’re here to support and inspire you.

Subscribe

captcha

PRIVACY

We will never share, rent, or sell your personal information or email address. Read more.
Copyright 2018, Be Leaderly