Bridging the pay gap between genders
Bill Coleman, senior vice president of compensation
at Salary.com, likens it to home buying.
How do you compare one home to another when determining value? "There
are questions on whether one owner took better care than the other
or modified it. Or one is in a better location than the other. It's
very hard to compare," Coleman says.
Of course, not everyone goes along with these rationalizations
about why women get paid less.
Evelyn Murphy, author of "Getting Even: Why Women
Don't Get Paid Like Men and What to Do About It," is among the dissenters.
"The pay gap has nothing to do with qualifications, experience or
commitment to the workplace. Women are being treated unfairly,"
a complicated issue, but women (or men, for that matter) who feel they are underpaid
steps to improve their situations.
there a problem?
Before you go to your company with charges that you are underpaid,
you need to do your homework. Salaries by occupation and region
can be found on such sites as Salary.com. Also compare your wage
to the published pay rates in the job classifieds. Finally you can
ask friends and co-employees what they are being paid. Because money
is often a taboo subject, Coleman of Salary.com recommends indirectly
asking the question. Instead of asking "What do you make?" change
it to, "What does someone with a job like yours usually get paid?"
if you do see a disparity between your salary and those of your colleagues, make
sure you understand the possible reasons behind it before you make any serious
What to do about it
If your wage gap doesn't pass the smell test, see if other women in your company
are faced with the same issue and enlist their help. It's a lot harder to refute
a group's charge of sexual discrimination in pay than one sole employee's complaint.
Whether you're on your own or with a group, your next
step should be to meet with your immediate supervisor or your human
resources department manager to examine the wage disparity. Coleman
says it might be easier to meet with the H.R. person rather than
your boss -- especially if your boss was instrumental in the decision
about your salary.