It’s 2017 and women across the globe are still being paid less to do the same jobs as men. The publication of the BBC’s top stars’ salaries last month may not have told us anything new – most predicted the gender pay gap would be starkly evident – but it’s brought the issue to the fore once again. But in a society where we’re not encouraged to talk about money, and co-worker’s salaries are shrouded in secrecy, how can you know you’re getting a fair deal? We’ve spoken to career coach Charlotte Billington for her top tips on what to do if you think you’re being paid less than male co-workers.
Do Your Homework
Since spring 2017, companies of 250 employees or more – including agency workers – have to publish figures each year showing the pay gap between male and female employees, as measured by comparing the average wages and average bonuses received by men and women. All of this information will be publicly available here by the start of April 2018.
If your firm has more than 250 employees and is yet to publish its pay stats, it may be worth waiting a few months until you have the facts and can present hard evidence before taking action. Once the information is out in the open, firms with a noticeable pay gap will be under great pressure to reduce or eliminate the problem as quickly as possible.
Know Your Market Value
Just as you would with a pay rise, do your research on what constitutes fair pay for your role within your current business and in the wider market, whether online or talking to others in the industry. Be well prepared, be reasonable, and have the information and figures at hand in case you need them.
If your co-workers feel they’re getting a raw deal too, group together to apply more pressure and for greater bargaining power. For example, following the publication of the BBC salaries, a public letter written to the Director General by a group of female employees calling for the corporation to change its practices on gender pay received widespread media attention and put the BBC under significant pressure to take action. Support others and ask them to support you – a group can shout louder than a person.
You may feel awkward, unsure or angry (rightly so), but it’s important to keep calm and maintain a professional demeanour when broaching the subject with your boss. While there’s nothing wrong with being passionate, ensure you’re communicating well and set out the facts in a confident manner. And remember to back yourself – if women in your workplace are being underpaid, this is gender discrimination and it’s totally unacceptable.