I was hor­ri­fied to learn I am paid less than male col­leagues — how do I re­duce the gap?

Sunday Independent (Ireland) - Business & Appointments - - FRONT PAGE - Michelle Mur­phy

all the talk about the gen­der pay gap in the news re­cently, I started to won­der if my pay was on a par with my male col­leagues so I did a bit of ask­ing around. I was hor­ri­fied to find out that not only was my pay sub­stan­tially less than my male coun­ter­parts, it was also fairly sig­nif­i­cantly less than one more ju­nior male mem­ber of my team — a per­son who I man­age. I have found it hard to bite my tongue. but I have no idea how to tackle the is­sue as we do not have pay scales in work and I only found out the dif­fer­ences as I started ask­ing. How should I broach this with my boss? tie in pay scales di­rectly to mar­ket value for the role at hand, which leaves a nar­row range for ne­go­ti­a­tion and ad­dresses un­fair pay gaps.

Or­gan­i­sa­tions should con­duct an­nual pay-eq­uity anal­y­sis to en­sure pay is in line with rel­e­vant vari­ables such as mar­ket value, em­ployee ex­pe­ri­ence, an­nual per­for­mance re­views, etc.

Some com­pa­nies are in­tro­duc­ing to­tal ‘pay trans­parency’, which al­lows every­one to be aware of what their coun­ter­parts are earn­ing; forc­ing or­gan­i­sa­tions to es­tab­lish a mer­i­toc­racy so those who are most pro­duc­tive get paid the most. Some tech com­pa­nies are al­ready im­ple­ment­ing these strate­gies and I think this will soon be­come the norm.

How­ever, in the mean­time, here are some point­ers to con­sider when broach­ing a dis­cus­sion with your em­ployer: Re­search: Con­duct ba­sic re­search to find out mar­ket rates in sim­i­lar job roles so you can ad­dress the dif­fer­ence be­tween man­ager and sub­or­di­nate. Know your worth: Be ready for a dis­cus­sion around your worth. Be ready to list your achieve­ments and con­sider what you’ve done to meet ob­jec­tives, new ini­tia­tives you brought to the ta­ble, and projects you man­aged — they are all your unique sell­ing points (USPS) that oth­ers may not have put their hands up to take on! Es­tab­lish ground: Think about the fi­nal fig­ure you feel is eq­ui­table. You can start the dis­cus­sion on a slightly higher fig­ure, as of­ten a com­pany will want to ne­go­ti­ate to meet in the mid­dle. Dis­cuss: Ask your em­ployer to high­light the com­para­tors and as­sess why there is a dif­fer­ence in pay be­tween you and male coun­ter­parts.

Then down sit with your man­ager to dis­cuss how to re­dress the sit­u­a­tion. Stay fo­cused to mak­ing the best pos­si­ble case to your boss with­out get­ting flus­tered or los­ing your point —al­ways be pro­fes­sional and clear in this type of dis­cus­sion. Ne­go­ti­ate: It is not a key strength for every­one but do not be de­terred by en­ter­ing into a ne­go­ti­a­tion around your salary — if it does not sit well with you as a proper com­pen­sa­tion then don’t ac­cept the first fig­ure put on the ta­ble. Re­move emo­tion: Al­ways re­main calm and col­lected —this is no time for emo­tional re­ac­tions even af­ter dis­cov­er­ing a dis­crep­ancy in pay rates.

Prac­tise your pitch be­fore the dis­cus­sion if you need to and think about the likely re­sponses you may get. You need to put for­ward con­vinc­ing fac­tual points, es­pe­cially if you are pre­sent­ing in­for­ma­tion around what oth­ers are be­ing paid. Be able to back this up when asked.

This is not the time to threaten to leave or dis­rupt the cur­rent state of play (they could call your bluff ) — this is the time to show how you can deal with a pres­surised sit­u­a­tion in a calm man­ner.

Think of it as a busi­ness case to your em­ployer as to why you should have a com­par­a­tive salary to some­one in a sim­i­lar role contributing a sim­i­lar level of work.

For some com­pa­nies it will take time to ed­u­cate them when it comes to pay gaps or dif­fer­ences but as a man­ager you need to high­light that you only have their best in­ter­est at heart as you want them to be recog­nised as an em­ployer of choice in the re­gion with a pro­duc­tive and happy work­force all work­ing in a very fair and eq­ui­table en­vi­ron­ment. Michelle Mur­phy is Di­rec­tor of Collins Mc­ni­cholas, Re­cruit­ment & HR Ser­vices Group, which has of­fices in Dublin, Cork, Gal­way, Sligo, Athlone and Lim­er­ick

Break­ing the glass ceil­ing is an is­sue for many

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