Women Earning Less Than Men?

Career & Workplace Erin's Musings Salary


Being a woman, you can imagine how I felt when I recently read an article stating that women are STILL earning 12% less than a man in a comparable position. This is an important issue because at some point in our lives, 80-90% of all women will be solely responsible for their own finances, whether it be because of divorce, death, disability of a spouse, or just deciding to remain single.
Sure, sometimes, depending on where you work, might contribute to the “good old boys club” or gender discrimination theory. But after reading on, I found that some of what the author was saying to be true, we may be responsible for adding to this dilemma. The question is: Are we UnderEarners?
If you haven’t had a raise in over 2 years and don’t want to ask for one for fear of “rocking the boat”, you may be an underearner.
If you have a hard time telling your clients you are raising your fees, or consistently underbill them, you may be an underearner.
If you don’t market yourself, or “toot your own horn” either within the place you work, or with networks outside of work, you may be an underearner.
If you put so much time into volunteer activities that you just feel lucky to be employed and content to remain where you are financially, you may be an underearner.
Some of this sounds like you, so, what do we do, you ask?
1- Identify your financial needs, have a clear picture of what you need to earn and where you want to be (including identifying all expenses and any “incidentals” like car repair, home repair, etc.)
2- Research the position and your own qualifications within the industry. If they don’t meet your needs, then prepare to negotiate for a pay increase, or start looking for a job that will pay what you deserve.
3- NEGOTIATE. This is the key to showing the employer what you are worth and that you are committed to getting it. Have an up-to-date copy of your on-the-job accomplishments ready to show your boss what you have contributed as a back up for your request. Most importantly, be confident. You’ve earned it and you deserve it!
For further reading on these subjects, check out Mikelann R. Valterra’s book, “Why Women Earn Less, How to Make What You’re Really Worth”, or Nicholas Reid Schaffzin’s book, “Negotiate Smart: The Secrets of Successful Negotiation”.
Until next time,