Tips for women when it comes to equal pay - Fox29 WFLX TV, West Palm Beach, FL-news & weather

Tips for women when it comes to equal pay

WEST PALM BEACH, FL (WFLX) - Equal pay for women has been is a hot topic right now, so what can women do to make sure they are paid fairly?

Better yet, why do women have to do anything to get paid equally? 

"The fact is that women are making .78 cents for every $1 men earn. Hispanic and African American women make even less. The Equal Pay Act, which requires men and women be paid equally for the same work, became law in 1963. That's 52 years ago," said lifestyle lawyer Shari O.

"At the time, women were being paid about .53 for every $1. So we've come some distance. The problem is that progress has actually slowed, and at the current rate, it will take at least another 50 years for women to be paid equally to men, unless we start doing something differently."

Here's what Shari O suggests women start doing differently in the workforce.

"The pay gap begins with your first job and continues with every review, raise, and new job after that. So women in general need to do a better job asking for equal pay by negotiating. In many jobs, less than 10 percent of women negotiate salary, while 60 to 80 percent of their male counterparts do. In fact, men tend to go into a new job or even an existing job review with higher expectations than women and tend to view more situations as opportunities to negotiate so they get higher results. So the first step is women need to negotiate more.

"Ironically, women are very good negotiators. They do it all the time, with their kids, husbands, store owners, the plumber. But they don't tend to view those as negotiations for themselves. So part of the trick is to think of salary negotiation as something you're doing for your family or pretend you're negotiating for someone else."

Shari O says feeling prepared is essential, so do your homework.

"Research salary ranges for that type of position and get as much information as you can from inside sources, and practice, practice, practice! Anticipated objections and have answers on hand.

"Women tend to believe they'll take the job, prove themselves, and then ask for more or be rewarded. But then that never happens. To motivate yourself, think about the dollar amount that will matter over your career, not about the few thousand dollar difference it may make at the moment, and look for opportunities to negotiate and bridge gaps. For example, sign on bonuses or a six month review, rather than simply taking less than what you want."

Negotiating pay is uncomfortable -- especially for women, so here are some tips from Shari O.

"Women tend to care more about relationships and reputational risk when it comes to negotiating. We're supposed to always be thinking about other people, not ourselves. In fact, we cant negotiate the way men do because men and women alike have been found to perceive that as self serving and very unattractive for a women.

"For example, if you go in and ask for a raise and mention having another offer, that's seen as a threat. If a man does it, it's good negotiating. It's a bit of a catch 22 because we want the same salary, and employers may think less of you if you don't negotiate. In fact, they expect you to negotiate, but there are some things you can do to soften your presentation without softening your positions. Smile a lot, express appreciation, express concern, invoke common interests, emphasize larger goals/approach negotiation as problem solver. Women need to justify, men don't.

"Use 'we' not 'I'. We shouldn't have to do it, but for the time being we do."

Like Shari O on Facebook

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