What Will End the Need for an Equal Pay Day?

iStock_000009393502SmallApril 8, 2014 is Equal Pay Day. It’s not a holiday as in “Happy Equal Pay Day” but it is a day that should be marked by both men and women. It represents the time the typical American woman needs to work beyond the previous year to equal the pay a man earned in the previous year. Last year, Equal Pay Day was April 9th.   Progress is slow. Women are still earning 77 cents to men’s dollar.

Harvard economist Claudia Goldin has proposed one fix to the problem. In her research paper entitled A Grand Gender Convergence: Its Last Chapter she writes,“The gender gap in pay would be considerably reduced and might even vanish if firms did not have an incentive to disproportionately reward individuals who worked long hours and who worked particular hours.” Another way to think of this is to reward results not face time. I completely agree that such changes would be a huge step in moving the needle beyond 77 cents on the dollar.

Employers and employees would need to look at contributions in a different light for this to truly be effective.   The impact of work would overshadow the effort. I find this is easier said than done, based on my experience with clients and workshop attendees. We love to talk about the experience and effort of our work because that is what is most tangible to us. Impact beyond our own desk is much harder for employees to grasp and to communicate. The ability to communicate such impact would increase pay if I understand Goldin’s proposal correctly.

Let me share one example from a workshop attendee. She submitted her company for an industry award and the company won. She knew this was important but she was not sure how to quantify the importance. As readers of my blog know, I recommend putting a dollar figure on your best accomplishments to truly impact your pay. She was unable to put a dollar figure on this.   The company had never even applied for industry awards in the past so this truly was her initiating and implementing the idea.

Typically, employees would talk about the effort to get all the right information for the award submission from various departments in the company and making the deadline. That is more of a face time description, which is what Dr. Goldin, suggest (and I agree) we abandon. The impact of the award is much greater than the woman who did it imagine. Here is where there was impact:

Advertising: A press release was distributed and picked up by multiple media

$ Impact: Savings of placing advertisements in each of the media that picked up the story.

Marketing: Leads came in from people who read about the industry award.

$ Impact: Most companies know their cost per lead (CPL). This award just saved the company the CPL for each lead it received.

Sales:  Some of those leads turned into actual customers for the company.

$ Impact: Added revenue of the sales that came in as a direct result of the award won.

Sales: The industry award was added as part of the pitch to potential clients. The award would bolster credibility of the company and minimizes addressing such concerns from prospects.

$ Impact: Increased revenue from any increase in the percentage of closed leads or cost savings if the time to close shortened since the award was won.

The impact was quite impressive and extended beyond the desk and department of the woman who made it happen. It would be difficult for a non-sales professional to even think about increase in percentage of closed leads. It would e difficult for the non-marketer to think of cost per lead. It would be difficult for the non-advertiser to think of the costs of getting coverage in certain media. Yet, that is what I ask of my clients and workshop attendees and what Dr. Goldin is implicitly recommending in her paper. This requires each of us to look at our work beyond our handoff to the next department. One way to do this is to get friendly with such departments to truly understand the impact you make now and to see where there is room for further improvement.

One more point regarding Dr. Goldin’s recommendation about face time. It will take a great cultural change. Just this past week a professional baseball player, Daniel Murphy of the New York Mets, took 2 days off to be with his wife while she gave birth and to spend time with his new child. We call this paid paternity leave which only 14% of US companies offer. The backlash was swift and loud and speaks volumes of the obstacles we as a country still face in embracing equality in pay for women and equal support in family matters for men. Here’s to the day when both is reached.

A Job You Love for the Pay it is Worth

Find something you love to do and you will never work a day in your life.  That saying is a goal of many working people; me included.  Unfortunately,  many people I encounter as a salary negotiation teacher put so much focus on finding something that they love that they forget to make sure their pay is appropriate for the job.  The following video discusses how the intersection of the two truly is a better goal.

5 Reasons Women Do Not Negotiate Their Salary

iStock_000008817530XSmallTomorrow, April 9th, is Equal Pay Day.  As readers of my blog well know, I believe that it is imperative for every woman to actively become involved in her income decision by negotiating her pay.  This step is essential if we are ever to achieve true Equal Pay.  I come across many reasons why women decide not to negotiate their income.  Here are the top reasons and why these reasons should not hold someone back.

I Don’t Work for the Money

Sure women may be out to save the world by working as doctors, nurses, teachers, and in non-profits.  Before anyone got to the decision of what kind of work to do came the realization that one needs to have a job to have a roof over head, food on the table, and the occasional mani/pedi treat.  It’s so elemental a reality that most of us forget about it.  You truly are NOT working for the money if you can honestly answer yes to the following questions:

  1. I (and my spouse) have saved enough to cover 6 months of living costs should I lose my job, get sick, or other emergency occur.
  2. I (and my spouse) have saved enough to put each of my (our) children through college for four years.
  3. I (and my spouse) have saved enough to live in retirement for 20+ years
  4. I (and my children) can live on my savings should my spouse no longer be part of the family unit through divorce or death.

My guess is very few of you can answer yes to all of the above (me included) since the average savings Americans have is $3,800.

I Thought Pay was Based on Ability

The decision to hire and promote a person is based on ability. The decision on the amount to pay someone is typically based on the lowest amount of pay that candidate will accept.  I know it’s a rude awakening for most people yet the discovery opens so much opportunity.  People can decide what they will and will not accept.  Realizing your manager is looking to get the best for the lowest pay enables you to jump into the negotiation game.  Think this might not be the reality where you work then why did they ask you for your salary history or desired salary?  That’s how hiring managers and human resources start to gauge an acceptable offer.

I Am Replaceable

Everyone is replaceable just ask Pope Benedict.  Salary negotiation would not exist if we all waited until we were irreplaceable.  You may be replaceable but you are valuable.   The minute you resign, get laid off, or get fired, the company will figure a way to work without you.  Until then, don’t forget to remind them of the value you bring and whenever possible do it in terms of the company’s financial gains.

I Did Not Know Negotiating Salary Was Part of the Process

We write resumes, practice interviews, buy interview outfits, clean up our social media footprint, and write thank you notes for interviews.   Somehow many believe the job offer is the end of the process.  No, the process now moves the decision making to the candidate.  My negotiation professor grad school taught us that the moment between job offer and acceptance are the most powerful for any candidate.   Don’t throw away the power by accepting the job without negotiation.

Review the offer, negotiate, and finally decide on the revised negotiated offer.   You’ll know you have the best offer in front of you after you negotiate the first offer.

I Do Not Know How to Negotiate

Negotiating is a skillset that we all need to add to our portfolio.  There are many ways to learn the negotiating including books, blogs, classes, and coaching.  The key here is to decide to learn regardless of the method.  You are 80% of the way to successfully negotiating pay that is on par with the men by making the decision to learn.

Earn More Girl, The Mobile App

screenshot ipad 3I am thrilled to announce a new tool for your salary research.  It’s the Earn More Girl mobile app for iPhone and iPad.  Some time ago I wrote a blog post about salary research and how the results set us up to aim too low.  How could that be you ask?  Well, we want salaries similar to men but the classic salary range results incorporate men and women’s salaries.  The resulting target salary you select such as the median will be lower than the median salary for men working in the job.

Target the Salary Men Earn

Here’s a little math word problem for you:  if the median salary for a project manager in Dallas, TX is $85,575 what would be the median salary for men working in Dallas, TX as project managers?  Earn More Girl will tell you!  Simply enter your target salary and select the job.  Earn More Girl uses the job categories that the US Dept. of Labor uses.  All jobs are categorized under five main groups:

  1. Management, Professional, and Related Occupations
  2. Service Occupations
  3. Sales and Office Occupations
  4. Natural Resources, Construction, and Maintenance Occupations
  5. Production, Transportation, & Material Moving Occupation

Using Earn More Girl Mobile App

Start by entering your target salary then select one of the five categories from above and drilldown to your specific job.  There are 135 jobs and job categories included in Earn More Girl.    To get the most accurate results select the closest category if you are unable to find your specific job or keep at the default if you are unsure of the best option.

The answer to the question above is $94,610.  So if you think you are average (which you are not) and you want to earn the median salary for the job instead of targeting $85,575 you should target $94,610.  That’s $9,000 more than you would have using just conventional salary research tools.  Aim higher and that gender salary gap will start to shrink.

How does Earn More Girl do it?  The gender pay gap continues to be stalled at 77% overall but it differs for various jobs according to Dept. of Labor stats.  Earn More Girl uses the gender pay gap for the occupation and the breakdown of men and women who work in that job to calculate your true target salary.

Personal Pay Gap

You can check out your personal pay gap as well.  Enter you current salary and select your job.  Earn More Girl will tell you what you probably would be making if you were a man based on the gender pay gap for your job.

Earn More Girl is free and will calculate your Personal Pay Gap.   Earn More Girl Pro will calculate your Personal Pay Gap and True Target Salary.  Earn More Girl Pro costs $1.99. Both versions are for jobs in the US and are currently available.

I look forward to getting your feedback on the app.