September was a busy month for equal pay news, with supermarket heavyweight Morrisons and streaming giant Spotify. Both receiving hefty, and very public, fines for their failure to meet equal pay requirements.
Now, don’t get me wrong. While it is great that the struggle for equality is being so openly and fervently discussed. It’s sad that it is still a topic of conversation at all. Let alone one that stirs up quite so much fuss.
For years there has been a very public debate surrounding gender pay equality and yet. Even the market leaders are still falling so short that the regulators are getting involved, the press is having a field day and women are still asking themselves if they are valued enough at work.
If you’ve tuned in to the pay debate a little late. Or you’ve recently decided that you’ve heard enough and want to make sure the gap is closed between you and your colleagues, keep these five tips in mind.
Know Your Rights
Gone are the days of Scrooge-like factory owners and powerless employees. There are measures and support systems in place to help ensure you earn what you are entitled to. So don’t sit back and take unfair treatment.
Education is empowerment. So be sure to do plenty of research. The official government sites are a good start, but you can find lots of information out there when it comes to equal pay rights. This website has some great information.
Poised and Professional
If you are going to discuss a serious topic like pay and gender equality. You need to remain calm and poised. Your approach should always be professional, not emotional. It needs to be a discussion, rather than a moan or – worse – a conflict.
Do your homework (see point #1) and make sure you’re prepared; that will automatically give you confidence and you will get straight to the point, without the waffle or ambiguity. Even if your argument is cast iron, be prepared for a rebuttal and when it comes, keep your composure. You can’t ask for the wage of a professional if you don’t act that way
Know Your Worth
You are in the trenches every day and you know how hard you work. How dedicated you are to your role and your company. And you know better than anyone the value and skills you bring to the team. So be confident in that before you approach the subject of pay. Because knowing your own worth will go a long way towards convincing others.
Knowing your worth and backing it up with examples is always a good idea. So you can present a sort of business case as to why you – as an individual, not a woman or a man – deserve a pay rise.
Be (Brutally) Honest with Yourself
Hear me out here. The flipside to knowing your worth is making sure you are brutally honest with yourself before you approach your boss about pay.
Gender pay, especially, can be a can of worms. So before you go in with the argument, you need to ask yourself if there is any other reason that Graham from Team A who does the exact same job as you might be getting more money. Are you working as hard, or does he burn the midnight oil without you knowing? Has he taken on extra projects or responsibilities? Is your performance 100% the same? Does your argument hold weight or hide other shortcomings?
Stand Your Ground
Standing your ground is not being confrontational or making trouble if you don’t get your way. Standing ground is ensuring you don’t bow down to peer pressure. Status quo or bullies if you know you are entitled to equal pay but aren’t getting it. Start recording your work and its results so you can back up any points with evidence if required. Ask for regular catch ups to review performance.
Seek advice from HR professionals or third parties. And if it comes to it, consider whether you would be happy to walk away and find somewhere you are appreciated and valued appropriately. Equally, think carefully about whether you would be happy with or likely to back down and stay put if you don’t get your way; standing your ground isn’t always easy so you need to have that confidence in yourself
Talking about gender pay gaps can be a sensitive subject but it is proving to be a necessary evil. Performance and pay reviews should be based solely on your merits and commitment as an individual. Whether that’s male, female, or a polka-dot hamster. If you are doing the best job, you should be recognised, rewarded and compensated for it. Just make sure you keep your cool and approach the issue in the right way.
**This is a guest post**