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Equal pay for women: Three ways to advocate for salary equity

08.23.21
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First celebrated in 1972, Women’s Equality Day is celebrated every year on August 26 to commemorate the passage of the 19th Amendment in 1920. This amendment laid the groundwork for the women’s rights movement that would continue in the decades that followed.

As I reflect on Women’s Equality Day, I think about the brave people who have not only supported conversations related to equality but have taken specific actions in their everyday lives to advocate for gender equality. Growing up and moving into the workforce I am grateful for the family, friends, and colleagues who have taught me not only the importance of advocacy, but also demonstrating how to be an advocate.

We’ve made progress, but there is still much work that needs to be done to reach true equality. As a Talent Acquisition professional, I have the unique opportunity to advocate and share tips on one of the most important ways women can be equally treated: how to negotiate and advocate for fair salaries.

On average, white non-Hispanic women earn only 79 cents to every dollar a man earns, Black women are typically paid 63 cents, Native American women 60 cents, Latinas 55 cents and Asian American and Pacific Islander women are paid only 52 cents to every dollar a man makes. Knowing your worth and asking for a competitive salary is key to being treated equally. But studies have shown that women are less likely to negotiate for a higher salary or ask for a promotion.

Here are three simple tips to help narrow the gender pay gap.

1. Know your worth

The first step is to know what you should you be paid. There are online resources that can provide estimated salaries from various companies, industries, and jobs. This will give you an idea of what you should be paid based on your industry, years of experience, skills, and location. Knowing the market rate for your line of work will give you more negotiating power.

2. Ask

Asking for a raise is an important part of working toward pay equity. When you have that conversation with your employer, remember to make a detailed business case about why you should be paid more based on the value you bring to the company. It’s not about you needing or wanting to be paid, but about your pay matching the value you provide.

Be sure to approach the conversation with a specific number in mind. Simply asking for more money is less effective. Be prepared to outline what makes you valuable. Have you taken on additional responsibilities? Are you managing more people? Or maybe you’re leading a big project or managing important clients. These are all great points that highlight the value you bring to the company. Learning to negotiate in a nice but firm way is a critical skill. There are multiple resources, from books to online seminars to YouTube videos, that can help you learn how to be a skilled negotiator.

3. Influence where possible.

There are times where you are in a position that can support more equitable pay. Through ensuring internal equity within your team, conducting regular compensation reviews, and advocating for those who are underpaid are all ways you can support pay equity. Bias can also prevent women from being compensated fairly. There are several resources available to learn more about how your own biases may be a factor in this.

About DJ Bergeron

DJ lives her passion every day as an inclusive networker, talent connector, and global learner. Her recruiting philosophy is that people are truly our most valuable resource.  She joined Bremer Bank in January 2021, assuming a leadership role in Talent Acquisition on the Talent Acquisition and Diversity Equity and Inclusion team. In this role, DJ and her team partners with hiring leaders throughout Bremer to execute strategies that advance an inclusive, equitable, and diverse workforce. Prior to Bremer, DJ served in other recruiting and leadership roles with U.S. Bank, Thomson Reuters, Target and RBC Wealth Management. She has also been an Adjunct Instructor with College of St. Scholastica. DJ holds a bachelor’s degree in business with an HR emphasis from the University of Saint Thomas, a Master of Arts in Organizational Management and Human Resources from Concordia University-St. Paul and is a Certified Diversity Recruiter (CDR) and Professional in Human Resources (PHR).)

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