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Negotiate Your Salary - The WorkherCoinciding with International Women’s Day today, I’m urging all women to take action about reducing the wide pay gap between men and women. Will you take the challenge?

New Zealand was the first country in the world to allow women to vote, from 1999-2008 we had our first elected female Prime Minster Helen Clark, and we are seeing strong increases in the number of working mothers. However, there are still a number of issues that alarmingly need addressing.

From New Zealand’s top corporations, women hold only 19% of executive office positions and 9% of board seats.

Men are still paid more than women for doing the exact same job today. According to NZ Herald’s Gender Pay Gap Data Insights, in some industries, such as care giving, this is as high as 30%.

Overall, kiwi women earn $6,000 less than men every year.

For professionals between the ages of 25-64 year old, in advertising/PR/marketing a man earns $8,400 more each year than a woman in the same role; in banking and law a male gets $7,200 more; and in engineering a male is on $14,000 more than females. For doing the exact same job. Each year.

Shocking, right?

What’s even scarier, is some data shows the gap is increasing, rather than decreasing.

Women also think very differently to men. As Sheryl Sandberg’s book Lean In highlights, we tend to hold ourselves back, lack self-confidence, raise our hand less often and pull back instead of leaning in, in comparison to men. There are also tonnes of data and arguments showing women negotiate and ask for less than men.

Recruitment firm Robert Walters Sales & Marketing Manager Sindy Ward said, “Women are likely to ask/initiate a conversation around a pay rise but won’t necessarily be hard negotiators and are known to compromise quicker than their male counterparts.

“Within the male population, men moving companies are more likely to negotiate on salary over ones moving roles within the same company.”

However, the flipside of the argument is salary discussions are personality based rather than gender.

Sindy continues, “It was traditionally widely believed that men are more likely to ask for a pay rise / salary review than women in the workforce.  However what I’m generally seeing in the market is slightly more complex. I don’t believe this is the case for all men and all women but more relevant to the level of either seniority.”

Advertising agency FCB (where I work), CEO Brian van den Hurk commented, “From my experience there is no gender bias in the way people ask for salary reviews or negotiate. It is based on personality and levels of confidence.”

As a young woman, it baffles me we are still facing issues around pay disparity in the 21st century, I think we – as a society – have a lot to do about it.

So this International Women’s Day I’m setting a challenge.

The Challenge

I’m calling for every single woman in the country to negotiate their salaries this year. Ask for what you want. Stick up for what you believe you deserve. If you don’t get what you think your worth, find out what you can do to get there.

If we band together, if every woman tries this for one year, maybe we’ll make a difference?

4 Tips for Your Salary Review

1. Have Evidence
Know what you want. Go in prepared with clear examples, backing up your achievements and why you think you deserve a salary increase.
FCB’s Head of Integration, Fleur Head said, “My advice for women to get the payrise they deserve would be “preparation”. List out tangible accomplishments in writing and prove how the level you’ve been working at is significantly higher than when you last had a pay review, and all the value you’ve added to the company above and beyond what is expected as part of your job description, giving real examples.”

2. Speak Up
If you don’t ask, you won’t get.
Request your own salary review meeting. If you’re not happy with what you’re offered, then say so. Yes it’s as simple as that. You need to voice your thoughts and negotiate. Make it clear you don’t want to settle. If you do no need to compromise, ask what other benefits might be available or for another review in a few months’ time, with a checklist of what you need to do.
Fleur advised, “If your manager declines your request for a payrise, be confident in asking “what is it you would need to see me achieve in order for me to obtain a raise”, try and get your manager to give you some measurable milestones so you are clear what you need to cross off.”

3. Research
Know the stats and equip yourself with all the information you need in advance. Read up on your industry’s average salary range, such as on Careers NZ, so you can use this information if you need to.

4. Keep Upskilling
Never stop growing and developing.
Sindy advises, “Ask your manager for development opportunities to upskill yourself – relevant courses or conferences to attend or a special project to lead.”

Will you take the challenge? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below or on social media using #PayForParity. We would love to hear your stories!

Laura is the Founder & Editor of The Workher. She is an award winning Public Relations professional, who loves blogging about surviving and thriving in the workplace as a young woman.

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