Image Source: Flickr
There are so many factors that contribute to a person’s final salary, but almost all of them boil down to how much—or how little—they are valued at work. Men and women are both expected to earn the same amount as entry-level employees. But on average, men end up with higher salaries than women once they hit their peak earnings potential. This is due in large part to the gender pay gap. In an attempt to offset unfair advantages among men and disadvantages among women, many employers have instituted policies like transparency around wages and bonuses, internal reporting systems for performance evaluations, and various other tactics designed to level the playing field. Fortunately, there are ways you can close the gender pay gap at work right now. These tips have been instrumental in making workplaces more equitable:
Organize and advocate for change from within your company.
This is the best way to make a lasting change to your company’s pay practices. If you are not advocating for these changes, it is unlikely that they will happen at all. Organizing for change within your company can be as simple as reaching out to your HR department with your ideas on how to make adjustments to their current practices.
What are you hoping for?
What do you think would make the biggest difference?
What changes do you think would be most helpful?
What kind of support do you think you would need to make those changes?
If you don’t see any policies in place that would help reduce the gender pay gap, you can work with your HR department to create them. Have a meeting with the heads of each department—people who make decisions about pay, hiring, promotions, etc. Let them know that you are concerned about the gender pay gap and that you would like to see some changes made.
Working with your colleagues and co-workers to advocate for change is the best way to create sustainable, long-lasting change within your company.
Get paid equally for equal work – demand it.
As the old saying goes, you can’t get what you don’t ask for.
If you want to earn the same amount as your male co-workers, you have to demand it. This doesn’t mean you should go to your boss and start “playing the victim,” but you should certainly start negotiating your salary.
Depending on your industry and field, women are less likely to negotiate their salary than men. Sometimes this is due to an internalized sense of “nice girl” politeness. Other times, women know that employers expect them to negotiate less for their salary (or not negotiate at all).
Promote wage transparency.
If you don’t know how much your co-workers are earning, it is incredibly difficult to determine whether or not there is a gender pay gap at your company.
In many companies, employees are forbidden from discussing their salaries. This creates a culture of secrecy around wages, making it nearly impossible to assess the pay gap. Get together with your co-workers and discuss the issue openly.
Organize a meeting with the heads of each department, and let them know that you are interested in bringing transparency to wages. If your company already has a transparency policy in place, fantastic. If not, you can encourage your colleagues to talk about their salaries with one another, or even with their superiors, to bring this information out into the open.
Consider setting up an anonymous salary database where employees can input their salary information with their gender included. This can help you identify potential pay gaps, and it can also allow you to see how your company’s pay practices compare to other organizations.
Implement a performance evaluation system based on clear metrics.
Another reason the gender pay gap exists is because women are often evaluated on different metrics than men.
For example, women might be evaluated more harshly when they miss a deadline because of childcare issues, while men are evaluated more harshly when they miss a deadline because they chose to stay out drinking with their friends. To fix this, you can request a copy of the company’s performance evaluation metrics and start to track how your evaluations compare to your male co-workers.
If you notice a pattern of evaluations that are harsher or less critical than those of your male co-workers, you can speak to your supervisor about it.
Perhaps there is a reason for these metrics that you don’t understand—but it will be impossible to have this discussion unless you have the information to begin with.
Implement a transparent bonus program.
In addition to salary and performance evaluations, many companies also have a bonus program in place.
Unfortunately, there is often a gender pay gap in bonus payments as well. If you notice that your bonus is consistently lower than your male co-workers’, you can bring it up with your supervisor.
You may be able to negotiate a higher bonus, or you may be able to change the criteria by which bonuses are calculated. Successfully mitigating the gender pay gap doesn’t require you to work harder or do more. It requires that your company apply consistent criteria to all employees, with no exceptions.
While closing the gender pay gap may not be a quick process, these tips can help you make significant progress towards more equitable pay practices.
As the economy continues to expand, businesses are expanding with it.
While it is important to diversify your workforce, it can be difficult to find the right candidates for open positions. In addition to finding and hiring the best candidates for your business, you also have to make sure that you are paying your employees fairly. That means taking into account factors like gender, age, ethnicity, and more.