Recent studies have shown that the pay gap between genders is smallest in the Gen-Y population. However, the gap still widens for Gen Y (as it does for all other generations) as responsibility level increases. Women are well-represented at junior levels, but not so much at middle, senior and executive levels with very little representation at management or board level. The South African gender pay gap is estimated, on average, to be between 15% to 17%. What this really means is that if you are a South African woman you will need to work at least two more months than a man to earn the same salary per year. The good news is that as the workforce matures, the subsequent generations will experience less and less of a discrepancy. Each year is a step closer to this thinking.
But for those of you who don’t want to—or can’t—wait around until 2050 to see equal pay, here are four strategies to at least get you closer to even with your male counterparts.
Set the Tone in Initial Negotiations
That first salary negotiation with any employer is critical. It’s harder to get a bigger raise later, so that first negotiation can be make or break for the duration of your employment at the company. Failing to negotiate your salary from the start is not only an initial mistake; it is one that will continue to follow you and will be compounded over the years, disadvantaging you throughout the remainder of your career.
Smart Negotiations is Key
The smart first step for women is to reframe the conversation from a battle to a problem-solving collaboration, which opens a lot more options. You need to prepare for this conversation in advance and know how much more you want and why. More importantly you need to know what you are worth, how to persuade your employers by also showing how it will benefit them.
Raise your expectations
Women are not as good negotiating for themselves as men are, mostly because of different expectations. Are you aspiring high enough? Raise your own price and you're guaranteed to achieve a better result. A higher salary goal communicates confidence, and confidence inspires confidence and with it higher salaries. Assume that your salary is negotiable, and that you don’t have to accept the first offer you receive. The first step toward successfully negotiating is making the decision to negotiate in the first place.
Don’t be complacent, check your pay status regularly
In business, and in life, things change. Always ensure that you are aware of your current market value and if you discover that your current salary doesn’t match then ask for a raise. Don’t just assume your employer will offer it to you. If you are not getting what you’re worth, you need to speak up. The more data you have to support your request the better. Instead of just assuming you will be taken care of, make sure to take care of it yourself.
Ultimately, if you are looking to negotiate your salary and do the work you also need to be willing to do the work. So, whether you’re negotiating salary with your current company or for a new opportunity, consider the steps above to negotiate the salary you deserve.
Need help in showcasing your worth to your next potential employer? Communicate Personnel is a specialized recruitment agency that can assist you with your job search. Our consultants will help you achieve your career goals and manage the entire recruitment process, from interview to offer stage. We Connect Great People with Great Careers. Visit our vacancies pages and apply today.