Today is equal pay day!
Today is “equal pay” day and in Australia, as in most countries, women experience a pay gap, which will amount to about $1,000,000 over their full life. In Australia this gap has hovered at just below 20% for several decades, with some industry segments measured with a gap of over 30%
Most of the articles written encourage women to seek the remuneration they deserve and definitely women need to be more confident in their discussions about money. Waiting and hoping will not change the situation.
However, there is also research that shows although men are expected to seek higher wages, and respected for doing so, when women do, they are seen to be aggressive. So women have the difficult challenge of asking for pay increases but risking being seen as aggressive.
WGEA has a powerful initiative encouraging CEO’s to sign up as “pay equality champions”. It is obvious however, that CEO’s already know the problem but have been slow in addressing the problem or feel that it is sufficient to gradually address the problem over a number of years. This assumes they will be there for the time required and the initiative does not get dropped over time. Quite seriously that is just unfair.
One organisation, simply made the powerful decision that they would “fix the problem” and with one move equalised men and women’s remuneration. To me, that is leadership.
It would be powerful to see organisations share their successful initiatives as it is obvious that the gap today demonstrates that unequal pay in not high on the organisational priorities. Unfortunately “name and shame” is probably needed to force the change.
Some ideas from our experiences at Xplore for Success with over 11,000 women
- Demonstrate confidence – stand or sit tall, make eye contact, firm hand-shake
- Take calculated risks – Show that you are prepared to take responsibility
- Speak up – don’t wait for the tap on the shoulder
- Dress for the next promotion – look professional
- Reduce the use of “sorry” – unless you personally did something wrong
- Keep your manager informed of your successes – be able to articulate a success concisely
- Take time to be known in your organisation – ensure others know how you add value
- Be clear about your career goals – so that you can action them
- Invest in your personal development at least once a year – ask for organisational support
- Ensure you are paid what you are worth – salary and bonuses
Check out the assumptions that may be made about you at work
In Australia women are paid for only 4 days per week, even though they work full time.
This is what Australian data shows….women are paid on average 18.8% less than men doing EQUIVALENT full time work. This is just one important component of gender equality and it is a component managed by our countries leaders.
WGEA (@WGEA) is challenging CEO’s to step up and be counted and so far 61 have. They are targeting 100 by the end of 2015.
See here: https://www.wgea.gov.au/addressing-pay-equity/meet-our-pay-equity-ambassadors
However many of our ASX200 are not on this list as well as many subsiduaries of large global companies.
One of the big four banks is missing, one of the four professional services is missing. Check if your company is on the list and if not ask if this is being discussed.
Here is their pledge
“We recognise gender bias can creep into performance, talent development and pay decisions to create like for like gender pay gaps. That’s why we analyse and monitor our talent management data, including pay, by gender and take action. We also set the expectation among people managers that they address gender bias in their decision making. We do this because we know we can’t attract and retain the best people and improve workplace productivity if there’s any unfairness or perception of unfairness in our workplaces. We encourage all business leaders to take the first step. “
Some of the companies signed up historically have had the largest pay gaps …let’s hope they truly take ACTION
Research findings show us that women who press for equal pay are seen as pushy, it doesn’t fit the lady image, so it is senior leaders and their teams that have to bring pay equity into action.
In Australia, most women work for 80% of the dollars that men would earn for the same role. Part of the problem is the way women avoid money discussions. Many women I speak with see that money is a once a year discussion and when there is a “freeze” they drop the subject altogether. When I ask about it they have comments such as “I love my job”, “I don’t like conflict”, “business it tough right now” and a variety of others. We all hope to be working in a job we love and have our work appreciated, but there are long term ramifications for not ensuring remuneration is part of the conversation. If you are paid less, you are assumed to have few skills, you are less likely to get the next promotion, you limit the remuneration of those in your team and you will limit your income available for charity support!
It is up to you to “talk money” or equality of remuneration will continue at the level it is today.