The hit song 9 to 5 was written for the 1980’s film, starring Dolly Parton, Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin. The song became the ‘women in the workplace anthem’, the theme tune for better treatment of women in the workplace, as the three women lived out their fantasies of getting even with their egotistical and bigoted boss.
Yet 35 years on, the very same stars, Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin (now staring in Netflix’s Grace and Frankie), recently dropped a gender-disparity bombshell by announcing they are being paid the same amount as their supporting male co-stars.
So why, when the gender pay gap discussion has been a hot topic for decades and features at the heart of many G20 priorities, has nothing changed? Amy Pascal, the recently ousted Sony co-chairwoman, told a conference it was up to women to demand their worth. “I run a business, if people want to work for less money, I’ll pay them less money… Women shouldn’t work for less money. They should know what they’re worth. Women shouldn’t take less”.
So is it actually, as Pascal stated, down to having the metaphorical balls – simply – women don’t ask and men do?
It amazes me. We are not shy when it comes to other luxuries/essentials in our lives, I have no qualms in getting the best deal/something extra, be it wine, the best credit rates or that extra 20% off; I always want more! So why are we so shy about being rewarded for our worth, or as Parton puts it “our minds”?
Having worked in the recruitment industry for a number of years I’ve witnessed the differences between men and women when it comes to salary expectations. Ask a man what he’s looking for and the answer is simple, a very confident “I want”. Whereas, ask a woman the same question and it starts with “well”, “err” or “what’s the range?”. Why are we so apologetic?
According to research in the US in 2013, only 7% of women attempted to negotiate a salary increase, while 57% of men did. What a frightening fact…
So are how are we going to impact the gender inequality gap, which according to the UN will take about 70 years to balance, if we don’t ‘Man Up’?
Here’s how to ask for a payrise
- Firstly, remember it’s the value of the role, not the value of the individual. The majority of organisations will have salary ranges for each role, and while you may exceed all expectations you might already be paid the top of the range for the role, in which case it is a very different conversation. Do your research on comparable salaries and have the facts ready for the conversation.
- Have your achievements listed and costed – How you’re exceeding your job description, what extra responsibilities have you taken on? Have you hit/exceeded KPI’s or targets? How much money have you saved the company/brought in? Know your figures!
- If you don’t feel in a position to ask now, discuss with your manager how you can improve your performance and contribution to the organisation to ensure you have a development plan in place which can be referred back to.
- And lastly, if you don’t ask, you don’t get!
Jo Nixon is a CIPD and Hay Job Evaluation qualified Resourcing Partner currently employed by ITV as their interim Resourcing Manager.