By Carrie S Ahmad, SPHR, SHRM-SCP
Vice President, People, Turning the Corner, LLC
Picture this…in 1996 you and a friend graduated from a reputable college with business degrees. You both joined high profile accounting agencies. You both spent the next 20 years working hard, earning accolades, being recognized as top performers, and climbing your way up the corporate ladder in very similar roles. At your 20-year college reunion, you are catching up on what has happened for you since your college days and are astounded at the parallels in your careers. That is until your friend happens to mention his discontent with his currently salary and shares that he is looking for a new job because he wants better pay. You are stunned. Stunned because for the same education, same level of responsibility, and the same type of work you are making 18% less than he does in his current job.
Sadly, this scenario is one that still plagues Colorado and our nation. The National Partnership for Women and Families recently published a report reflecting that women in Colorado earn $0.82 for every $1.00 a man earns. Additionally, in a recent study of 529 cities by NerdWallet, Denver ranked 11th and Boulder 26th nationally in terms of equal pay (Centennial ranked 259th!). Why, after decades of awareness of the pay gap, does it still occur?
What’s our Value?
One reason I’ve observed, and have been guilty of, is that women don’t ask for more. When negotiating offers women are less likely to counter an offer from a potential employer. When salary increases are determined, women are less likely to speak up and say what they’ve accomplished and that they are deserving of a higher raise. Often our instinct is to put others before ourselves, and this is also true when it comes to money. We think that what is offered must be what the employer sees as our value and we accept it.
Go ahead – ask for more. But do your research first.
So, if you’re asking “where’s my money?” when reading articles such as those on Forbes, Huffington Post, or CNN Money, look in the mirror and tell yourself, “it’s OK and good to ask for what I deserve.” How do you do this? Do your research. A great resource is O*NET OnLine where you can search salary data by state and city, as well as see very specific descriptions of jobs to best determine what role aligns with your current job (or the job your are interviewing for).
Compare Salary Data for your position.
In addition, comparing data from sites such as Glassdoor and the Salary Search on indeed will help you understand the current market pay for various positions. Using this information in combination with details of how your experience benefits the organization, what you’ve achieved, and how you will continue to add value builds a case for you, as a woman, receiving the pay that aligns with your job and experience, not your gender.