Gender Pay Gap: What You Should Know & Do?

Ask for more and agitate for change.


We all know about the gender pay gap. High profile campaigns have brought the problem into the open, but the actual mechanics of it are often glossed over. So let’s be clear. It’s not about companies employing a man and a woman to do identical jobs but paying the man less. That’s been illegal for 40 years. It’s about the average wages across a whole organisation being unequal, which is usually because there are so few women in leadership and managerial roles, and fewer women in general being attracted to the highest paid professions. You don’t have to be a working mother to guess why that might be…

The good news is, a new law requires all companies with over 250 employees to publish their gender pay gap figures. Top fund managers Schroders have led the way by being the first FTSE100 company to do so, reporting a mis-match of 33% in salaries and 66% in bonuses.

The even better news is that you can take steps now to protect yourself against this unfairness:

  • Ask for more. You know your worth – if it isn’t being reflected in your pay, try re-negotiating your salary. Arm yourself with data on comparable wages elsewhere, and coolly and calmly start a conversation about it.  You might feel nervous going into that meeting, but afterwards, even if your bid is unsuccessful, you’ll feel empowered. And no one will think less of you. Quite the opposite in fact!
  • Save hard. If you’re being paid less, you must save more. For retirement, for child-rearing (that’s around 10 years out of paid work for most working mothers) and for those bumps in the road like health and redundancy that always hit the under-paid harder.
  • Agitate for change. Don’t just sit back and accept women’s poor status in the business world. You wouldn’t accept it at home, or in the political process, so take every chance you have to model powerful, forward-thinking behavior in your professional life. This is one area of life where a sense of entitlement is a good thing! You’ll feel stronger and your message will help create a new culture of fairness in your industry.

Photo by roya ann miller on Unsplash.