We live in a culture where most women know the value of their homes on the property market. We are reminded daily of minute percentage movements on global stock exchanges and unemployment figures. Women know the price of most things from the cost of a business suit to a plumber or a baby sitter and account for 85% of consumer purchasing decisions. What most don’t bother to check out is the value of possibly their greatest asset. Themselves.
I have had two contacts this week from women who have discovered signficant salary differentials either between themselves and their male colleagues, or general market benchmarks for their job.
Women and negotiation
There is much information in the public domain to suggest that women don’t negotiate hard enough, or even at all, in the area of compensation. This insidious differential starts across the world at entry-level in a wide variety of sectors and stays with many women throughout their careers. This is true, even for those who have invested in their personal development to acquire an MBA. Research shows that women generally earn 80% of men.
And when they do try to negotiate, unlike their male counterparts instead of being viewed as enterprising dynamos, they are seen in much less favourable terms, frequently as money grabbing b$x*£€s. At a time of economic austerity many are reluctant to step up and re- negotiate.
The most important thing for women is to have an idea of their own value on the open market. If they decide they don’t want to negotiate their compensation package, this decision should be taken from a position of being well-informed. No one would dream of putting their houses on the market without checking out the value, then why do it to themselves?
How to check?
- Network : with people in your field and sector. Asking people what they earn in many cultures is considered to be indiscreet and on par with asking a woman about her weight, age or credit card number. However it is possible to get ball park figures and salary range via sensitive discussion.
- Advertisements : many job advertisements carry salary scales. Keep a watchful eye on job boards and the press in the same way you might monitor house prices.
- Online resources: there are many free salary survey resources online. Check out salary.com, glassdoor.com and payscale.com which has a global reach.
- Overview : It’s always useful to have an overview of what’s going on in terms of salaries (especially as they’re being frozen). Most business media carry regular pieces on this topic and LinkedIn has a Compensation and Benefits Forum where general compensation issues are discussed from a management perspective.
- General package : get up to speed not just on the salary segment of your compensation, but on where your total benefits package lies on the market spectrum. If your salary is lower, do you have other perks which are just as important such as remote working or flexi-time? Perhaps you can’t leverage a higher salary, but are there other benefits that might be useful?
We would never consider buying or selling anything without being aware of its value. We simply have to stop doing this to ourselves.
What do you think?