Women do not get paid for about 11 weeks and 3 days per year – 59 days – to be exact, according to an analysis for The Huffington Post by Ariane Hegewisch at the Institute for Women’s Policy Research. That means, if you are a woman reading this, when you look back at your year of work, you could have technically sat on your ass for two months doing nothing and made the same amount of money.
The pay gap is very much alive and well, unfortunately, which is why today we are still observing Equal Pay Day. Today, April 8, symbolizes how far into the new year the average woman would have to work to earn what the average man did in the previous year. According to Hegewisch, American women workers make, on average, 77.4 percent of what their male counterparts make in a year. This means they have to work 22.6 percent more days to make as much money as men. This comes out to a woman having the potential to lose at least $400,000 over the course of her career.
Even if you think you are immune to it because you are young, you absolutely aren’t. Today, just one year after graduation, women are already earning only 82% of what their male counterparts earn. It helps, but you can’t even educate your way out of the gap. But it should be noted that women in STEM careers do face a smaller wage gap.
And for African-American and Hispanic women, the wage gap is worse, which means it takes even longer for their salaries to “equal” the salaries of their white male coworkers.
With a new executive order issued today, President Obama and Democrats are hoping to peg the gender wage gap as a major issue ahead of the 2014 elections. But don’t hold your breath. Jillian Berman of The Huffington Post says we shouldn’t hold out hope for change in the near future: “At the current rate of progress on the issue, the gender wage gap won’t close until 2056, according to an analysis from IWPR,” she writes. ”That’s 2,537 days of free women’s work.”
But in the meantime you can ask for more whether you are working full-time or are freelance. Asking for more is one of the toughest things you will ever do, but it doesn’t have to be if you practice and get in the habit of doing it. Asking for what you deserve is a muscle and you need to flex it. Here are some things to keep in mind when you ask for more.
1. Track your work
Don’t just walk in and ask for a raise. Quantify your accomplishments. You should always keep track of any accomplishments at work. Did you head up a project? Did you recruit an amazing employee? Did you woo that unattainable client? Try keeping a work journal and logging both daily tasks and big wins.
2. Do your research
Use sites like Glassdoor or PayScale to compare your salary to others in your industry with your experience. Don’t just ask your friends how much they make (although, that’s a great starting point). Consider interviewing for other jobs to see what the salary range is so that you have that for reference in your back pocket. If you are going to say you know your market value is worth more, you have to have the goods to back up your request. (Plus, it’s a confidence boost to realize that people really will pay you more than what you are currently making!)
3. Dress for success
Literally. Remember in “Clueless,” a cinematic masterpiece, when Cher needs to wear her “most capable” outfit for her driver’s test? You need that for a negotiation day too. Your outfit is your shield. Find the outfit that makes you the most confident. LinkedIn’s career expert Nicole Williams and the bestselling author of “Girl on Top: Your Guide to Turning Dating Rules into Career Success,” said the clothes you wear directly correlate to your confidence levels. “The better you feel, the more likely you are to feel confident and fearless,” Williams says. “Work everything, including your wardrobe, in your favor.”
4. Get a mantra
Tell yourself you’re going to succeed. Look at yourself in the mirror and repeat your mantra to yourself. Repeat it again as you’re walking into the negotiation, and remind yourself that you can do this! Embrace your inner Beyonce.
5. Be creative
Even if you don’t get a monetary increase in your income, look for other benefits you deserve. What about more vacation time? More flexibility? A bigger office? A better title? And if you don’t walk away with anything, you should be thrilled because you asked and it will be easier the next time you do it.
Looking for more tips on negotiating? Skillcrush is a proud partner of Levo League’s “Ask4More” campaign. This website has video interviews with salary negotiation experts, articles on negotiating for your industry, and more.