Fuck doing the same work for less. Help close the gender gap and earn way more $$$ by following these simple steps to equality
Equal Pay Day: Monday 9th November. Remember this date. If you’re a woman, then from today until the very end of the year, you may as well be working for free. Yes, that’s unfortunately correct. Every single day you go into work, you’re essentially not getting paid for your efforts thanks to the 14.2 per cent pay gap which exists between female and male earnings in the UK. Of course we’re all very aware there’s a gender pay gap but once you put it like that, it really puts a bitter fucking taste in your mouth.
The even worse thing is: it’s not likely to change any time soon. According to the Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings by the Office of National Statistics, who did this research, at the current rate of progress, it will take over 50 years to close the gap. That’s 2065. I won’t even be working then! I’ll be retired, widowed and one-bottle deep watching Buffy ad infinitum before women will be reaping the basic benefits of equality.
To make sure this gap keeps closing – and accelerates while it’s at it – everyone needs to do something. But beyond just being a man or refusing to work another day until the end of the year, which admittedly seems attractive, what can we actually do? I searched the internet for tips from people who actually know what they’re talking about. Let’s start closing that gap today before I decide not to come into work tomorrow.
I have a mate who got told off for being “unprofessional” for discussing her salary with fellow employees. You know why that’s unprofessional? Because the upper echelons don’t want you to find out that things aren’t fair. That someone is being paid more than you for the same job. That someone is earning more than they should be, for some mysterious reason.
David Cameron made some weak attempt at starting the ball rolling with transparency by introducing legislation to make every private sector company with 250 employees or more publish the gap between its average male and female earnings. That’s the idea, but that doesn’t cover most places. All you can do is be open about how much you’re earning. If people start talking about it, there’s nowhere for employers and HR to hide.
DON’T TRY AND RATIONALISE IT
Things become more difficult in the creative industries where jobs are few and far between and no one wants to rock the proverbial boat for fear of being seen a troublemaker – or worse, replaceable. But don’t use a cool job or difficulties in the job market as the reason you’re not speaking out. If a guy is getting paid more than you for doing the same thing, you owe it to yourself – and every other woman in the industry – to speak up. You’re worth the hard work that you’re doing.
DO YOUR RESEARCH
Know the law. Read up about your industry. Ask others at a similar level to you at other workplaces. If your industry is unionised, talk to them. Find out what salary level is realistic at your level. Regardless of whether or not you can get a male/female breakdown of those stats, it’s a benchmark that your workplace should be aiming for. With the 14.2 per cent pay gap being a reality, the odds are it’s you missing out on those average pay levels.
If there’s no logical reason why you’re being paid less than a bloke, go to HR armed with all your information and just talk it out. If you have a probation meeting or check-up chat in the near future, then use that time to bring it up. If you don’t, set one up. You don’t have to go in all guns blazing. Just address your concerns, be factual and you can’t go far wrong.
THINK ABOUT YOUR LANGUAGE
Sylvia Ann Hewlett, author of Executive Presence: The Missing Link Between Talent and Success, says using “sorry” frequently undermines our gravitas and makes us appear unfit for leadership. Women are typically more apologetic in their language and that’s not a good thing. It’s usually just a verbal tic, but starting sentences with “Sorry but…” or “Is there any chance…” or “Could I suggest we maybe...”. When you go for your HR meeting, be mindful of your wording. And then carry on not apologising IRL. For loads of us, it’s such a habit it’s actually quite hard to drop. We’re so conditioned to soften our communication so we don’t come across as aggressive or overly assertive. But, yeah, if you don’t mind, I’d like to suggest none of us fucking do that anymore.