Equal pay expert Michelle Gyimah, talks to Genderbuzz® about what you can do to ensure you’re getting paid fairly for your skills and talents and how your actions can have a direct effect on the gender pay gap. Let’s talk money!
It’s time to get comfortable talking about money
Talking about money can be an emotional issue for many women and as a result it can be difficult to discuss the topic in a rational way. But it may be that your reluctance to talk about it can feed into the very real gender pay gap. Let’s think about some of the messages YOU may have heard about women and money:
“You can’t be happy and rich.”
Yep, by the time you’re old enough to start making your own financial decisions you’ve soaked up years of negative money stories, and it’s a narrative that you carry into your adult life. And, without even realising it, you may be sabotaging your efforts to earn and keep your own money. In the workplace this can manifest in different ways;
- Not asking for pay rises,
- Not pursuing equal pay claims,
- Accepting small pay rises, and taking on more responsibilities with no/little extra pay
- Not actively managing your retirement savings/pension plan
What’s stopping you negotiating for a pay rise?
Much has been talked about women negotiating for pay so what’s stopping us? Well, negotiating pay is often viewed as hard or embarrassing and as a result many women do not do it. In addition, women tend to believe that they will be paid what they are worth and that this ‘worth’ will be recognised and fairly determined by others, and not by themselves. In contrast, men do not take this approach, not because they necessarily find it easier to negotiate pay or are better at the actual negotiation, but because they are willing to risk the embarrassment and uneasiness to get themselves that promotion or pay rise. As a result, the gender pay gap is maintained.
Here at Equalitypays.co.uk, we are all about helping you tackle this reluctance to talk about money and have designed a workshop called ‘The Money Revelation’ in which we break down the ideas and barriers you might have about money. In our workshop, we help you identify your money blocks and teach you the techniques you need to negotiate for better pay.
Ok, what else can I do to get comfortable talking about money?
If you thinking ‘This gender pay gap thing is much bigger than me’ you’d be right, but that doesn’t mean that you have to let it just happen to you. So where can you start?
You can start at the beginning – with your starting salary. Think back to when you applied for your job. Was there a fixed salary or was there a ‘wage bracket’ or ‘salary band’? When there’s a salary band we say, pitch to the higher end of that band. Given that we know that, in general, women do not negotiate for as much money as men, going for the higher end of the advertised salary band, may well get you onto a more equal footing with your male colleagues from the get-go! Remember- no interviewer is going to TELL you to ask for more money so the ball is firmly in YOUR court!
Does it really matter, it’s only a few thousand pounds?
Well, the pay gap may only be a few thousand pounds at the outset of your career but let’s look at the statistics over a working lifetime:
If your starting salary is £24,000 and a male employee starts at the same post on £28,000 due to his good negotiating skills, you will miss out on average of £150,000 over a 30- year career. This figure excludes pension contributions, missed promotion opportunities and time out for family responsibilities. So yes, it really DOES matter, and our advice to you is that the next time you interview for a new job, don’t play small, push hard and NEGOTIATE. The financial implications for your future are just too big to ignore if you don’t.
Michelle Gyimah is a Gender Equality Consultant with over 10 years’ experience of working on equality issues in the workplace. Michelle runs her own company working with technology firms and technology teams to build inclusive business cultures which attract and retain more Women in Tech. Website: www.equalitypays.co.uk
Michelle is back next week for Part 2 of ‘Let’s talk Money’ when she’ll be talking about what Employers can do to help solve the U.K. gender pay gap.