April 2, 2019 signified the day that all women “caught up” with men in salary from the previous year – meaning, women essentially work for free for 92 days on average vs men. Equal Pay Day is different for women of color and predictions say that we will not be paid the same (at current trends) for well over 200 years.
I don’t know about you, but I find these stats to be appalling and unacceptable. Shouldn’t we be paid our worth? Shouldn’t everyone – regardless of gender, race, sexual orientation, or any other factor be paid their worth?
On Thursday of this past week, I had the pleasure of attending an Equal Pay Panel sponsored by Ladies Get Paid and Hired Chicago. The program started out with a very powerful video interviewing 7 women of varying skill levels and ethnicities about their experience with pay and discrimination. The video - #nothingless - was powerful and shed great insight on some of the challenges that women face in the workplace.
We then heard from a panel of powerful women speaking on diversity and inclusion, HR practices and approaches to know and get your worth. This panel included Tiana Clark (Microsoft), Zara Espinoza (Out in Tech), Audia Wells (Tilt Human Resource Consulting), Tiffany Voltz (Spot Hero), and was moderated by Vida Wilson (Change Cadet). Here are a few of my takeaways from the discussion – I hope you find these inspirational as you seek to know and get your worth too!
First things first – believe in yourself. We all face imposter syndrome – well over 80% of us at least do – and this nagging voice in our heads telling us that we aren’t good enough, that we’ll be found out, or that we’re less qualified because of X, Y or Z. But the reality is that you are good enough, you are great in fact. And the more that you believe that, the more you will find that you not only deserve to be there, but that you will thrive! You deserve to be in the room – after all, you were hired for a reason. Be brave and honor who you are.
Next, own your voice. Speak up. Seek allies. Build your tribe. When you surround yourself with people that build you up, support you, encourage you and fight for you, you win. The more they see you, the more they see your brilliance and understand what you are bringing to the table. Visibility and self-promotion are key to building your brand and ensuring that your value and worth is not only known to yourself but to the community around you too.
Finally, be confident. You are the only the only you in this world! You have a very special blend of experience, gifts, strengths and offerings – and no one else in the world has what you have to offer. Be confident in that. You're worth. And get it! A few tips for that too:
Make sure you are delivering – because of course you are!
In today’s digital age, you can readily find comparable salaries, titles and benefits to understand what averages are for comparison (for example www.onetonline.org is a great resource).
When advocating for a salary increase, frame it in your mind as if you were advocating for your best friend or mother. Take the personal fear out of it and demonstrate why you are worth it.
If the immediate salary increase request isn’t an option, then make sure you state your case for why it should be in the next round – plant the seed for the salary bump, tie it to your goals for the year, and make your message clear on what you need and what you’re delivering for it. Share your results often too!
And if you’re going in for a new job, know that you have the upper hand. There is no second or third option – you are who they want. You won’t get more if you don’t ask for it. Consider not only salary, but also vacation time, sign-on bonus or stock options, and other intangibles like professional training and development too.
You are amazingly you – and you deserve nothing but the best. Own who you are and make sure that you are getting your worth. And if you need a little help in figuring it out, a coach is a great resource. Book your free strategy session today.