Before we start talking about how women can start bridging the pay gap, it’s important to understand why men earn more.
As a headhunter who has been in the industry for over 22 years, I believe the explanation is simple. There are a number of theories and factors – such as experience – at play when considering how much someone makes. But for women, the pay gap doesn’t start as they progress in their careers and gain more experience; it exists from day one of working life. The simple explanation for this phenomenon is that men ask for raises more often than women.
If you’re looking to bridge the pay gap within your own company, there are some steps you can take to encourage your staff members to be proactive about asking for higher salaries at regular intervals throughout their careers: train managers on how best to handle salary negotiations and create an environment where pay is openly discussed.
Last year, a study by Lean In and McKinsey & Company found that women are less likely to ask for pay raises than men because they don’t want to come across as pushy or overbearing. The most telling statistic from the report revealed that while seven out of ten male employees have asked for a raise at some point in their careers, only six out of ten females did the same. So, if men are getting paid more simply because they are asking for more money, this means that if women start overcoming the fear of being perceived as pushy or overbearing, then the gap can start to shrink.
The question here is: why are women less likely to demand a pay raise?
What is it that makes women less likely to ask for what they want? It simply boils down to self-confidence and finding their own voice. As a life coach, I can safely say that women generally have less self-worth and self-confidence then men – and that results in asking for less. Women are more likely to wait to be promoted than ask for a promotion and are more likely to wait for a pay raise than ask for it. On the other hand, men are far more likely to ask for more and say that they need more.
What can women do to get paid more?
- Ask for the pay raise. This sounds simple, but can actually cause anxiety for a lot of women. A way to get over this could be to e-mail a request to HR or your hiring manager.
- Speak to your line manager. Ask what needs to be done in your appraisal to be in line for the next promotion or pay raise – that way, you are paving the way to bridging the gap.
- Use your voice more. Start speaking up in different areas in your life so that you can start feeling more comfortable asking for what you want at work. The more you use your voice and stick up for yourself, the more likely you are to ask for what you want.
As a group, us women need to encourage each other to speak up. Rather than putting each other down, we should start building each other up and supporting each other’s businesses and work. We are all responsible for creating this change and it starts with you, me, and us. If I can build confidence in myself and voice my needs and desires, then I can help other women do the same at work. Be the bold change that we all want to create. Go out there and voice what you want and ask for the money you deserve!