What Individuals Can Do to
Close the Wage Gap
- Learn everything you can about wage
negotiation. Many books have been written on the subject,
and a large body of research shows that women are far
less likely to negotiate for salaries and promotions than
men are. ICSW has developed a public presentation on wage
negotiation based upon material from the national Wage
Project, which has a host of other resources. Please
contact us to request a presentation for your group.
- Successful wage negotiation depends
upon benchmarking your salary and making your value clear
to your employer. Benchmarking is using available data
about what people in your field with your qualifications
earn on average in your geographic area. Salary.com
has partnered with the Wage Project to offer wage
benchmarking information specifically for this purpose.
You can find a basic amount of information free of charge,
and more detailed information is available for reasonable
- Look at the data on the field/profession
you are in or are considering entering. Unfortunately,
where there is a high concentration of women in a profession,
pay tends to decline. Make an informed decision based
on what's right for you.
- Consider a wide variety of professions
- not just those that feel comfortable or familiar. Traditional
"women's values," like nurturing and fairness,
can be contributed in a number of ways to fields where
women have not traditionally worked, such as engineering,
securities trading, or technology.
- Make a career path for yourself. Many
women make the mistake of thinking they have "arrived"
when they get their first job - that they will be "noticed"
and promoted because they deserve it. Unlike many men,
they may think they need to know their job backwards and
forwards before they begin planning their next step. Similarly,
many women make the mistake of trying to ascend career
ladders that stop rather abruptly. Think about long term
potentials for growth in earnings and responsibility.
For instance, many women are human resources managers,
which often has a much lower earnings ceiling than does
a manager in charge of a profit/loss division.