Can We Talk? Equal Pay is Good Karma

Written by Julie Kampf on . Posted in Blog

Star InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar Inactive
 

Two men have turned up the volume on talk about the gender pay gap, and, while one has a political goal and one made a gaffe, the conversation helps businesses and women by calling attention to a problem that hurts productivity.

Two men have turned up the volume on talk about the gender pay gap, and, while one has a political goal and one made a gaffe, the conversation helps businesses and women by calling attention to a problem that hurts productivity.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has released a political ad highlighting the pay gap and other women's issues.  Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella has spent the past couple of weeks backpedaling from remarks that discouraged women from asking for raises and suggested that not asking is good karma.  

We need to acknowledge the pay gap in order to fix it, so I applaud Gov. Cuomo for calling attention to the disparity and support Mr. Nadella's quickly revised advice to women:  "If you think you deserve a raise, you should just ask."

Women: Ask!

If you're a woman seeking career advancement, focus on fixing the " ask gap" on every level.  Here are a few tips.

Ask for a Mentor

Everyone needs a mentor, but studies show that women have a harder time finding mentors, and a survey by the online professional women's community Levo League showed that 95 percent of users surveyed had never asked for a mentor.  Asking for a mentor doesn't have to be complicated.  Think of someone you know and admire or find out who mentors other people you know.  Invite that person to join you for coffee, and then tell him or her what you want to accomplish.  Be straightforward: "I'd like to get to the next level and am looking for someone to be in my life."  Suggest a meeting schedule, such as once a month, and make sure your mentor is willing to put in the time.  Then come to each meeting prepared with a goal for that meeting.  You need to be able to tell your mentor specifically where you're struggling.

Ask for Feedback

It's hard to do, but you need current, accurate information about how well you're performing with bosses, subordinates, colleagues, customers and other constituents.  I believe in asking for feedback face to face when possible.  I have yet to meet anyone who enjoys filling out performance evaluations, and in recent years customers have become less responsive to at least some email solicitations. So, instead of sending customers endless follow-up emails or waiting around for your next 360 review, just ask when you see people.  You'll get better information when you ask them in real time: "Are you getting what you need from me?" "How can I do better?"  Remember that asking the question shows that you care, and even the perception of indifference can derail your career.

Ask for a Raise

You have to do it, because the reality is that you'll probably get paid less unless you ask for more.  I've been there.  Twenty-something years ago, I was handed an executive-level job with a lesser title and lower pay than the man who preceded me in the position.  By all means, ask nicely:  women still face penalties simply for negotiating for higher pay, according to research reported by The New York Times.  But don't let that stop you from asking for what you deserve.

Businesses: Speak!

It's absurd that women earn less, especially since businesses so clearly benefit from women's advancement.  A new study co-authored by an MIT researcher shows that workplaces with gender diversity are more productive, so every business leader has a stake in this issue.  As a start, recognize the problem.  Speak at conferences, speak to leadership, speak to legislators, speak to colleagues.  We can all make a difference by putting the pay gap front and center.  Let's keep talking until the problem gets fixed.

      


"Connecting great leaders to great companies... Advancing the world together!"

A Member of Amrop

On Twitter

JBK Associates Intl.

RT @GoodGriefNJ: A HUGE thank you to "A Night Among Our Stars" sponsors for making a difference in the lives of grieving kids! @privateADVg