working women

What We Talk About When We #TalkPay

Last Friday, May 1 was International Worker’s Day.  Though not observed in the U.S., this is a holiday celebrated in many countries.  In its honor, a female programmer, Lauren Voswinkel kicked off a trending Twitter discussion of salary under the hastag #TalkPay.  She did this to draw attention to the pay differences between men and women and minorities.  She started by setting an example and disclosing her own salary.  Thousands of others (working predominantly in the tech sector) followed suit.  For those of you that missed Friday’s disclosure party, here are a few tweets that are still around:

There isn’t much more to look at now because it seems people seem to have removed their tweets over the weekend.  We don’t think this takes away from their many individual acts of public bravery, but unfortunately the totality of the data is difficult to analyze when its no longer there.

What we can analyze at Fairygodboss is what our community of professional women report as their most recent salary band at an employer — and just as importantly — how they feel about their compensation.  In other words, you can make any amount of money and it can be objectively be considered “reasonable”, but if you perceive that you are not paid fairly (for whatever reason), you will not be a happy camper.

When we ask our members about what advice they would give to themselves when they first started their job — or to other women considering the company — many say they wish they had negotiated or asked for more pay.  They say things like:

Believe in your worth and negotiate a higher starting wage.  It will compound over the years.

or

I wish I would have known that my starting salary and level would be an issue throughout my entire career… Don’t under estimate the importance of negotiating a good salary, title, level from the start.

Another topic women in our community feel strongly about is inextricably tied to pay, but much harder to measure: career advancement.  For example, some of our members feel very strongly that men and women are treated equally and fairly in their companies.  For example, one member writes:

Women make equal to or better than men in most positions (info from HR), so there is NOT a wage gap. Women are paid fairly, but there is a gender gap in women making up fewer roles in the company.

If the latter is true, then the issue of pay becomes less about dollar amounts, but whether women face a glass ceiling, or have an equal shot at promotion / advancement to certain leadership roles.

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