Advice at work: how to tackle pay inequalities at work

It’s no secret but the elephant in the room that no one wants to discuss: unequal pay contributes to the root cause of gendered poverty.

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Hello, colleague:

How to raise the question of comparable remuneration during an evaluation interview? I started with my current company at a rate I thought was fair, but after talking to co-workers and researching comparable salaries for my position, my industry, and in Vancouver, I realized I was making 15% less than my peers.

Seems like such a big gap to fill in a request for a raise, and I wonder if I’d better look for a similar position elsewhere and then use a potential job offer as a negotiation tactic. What would you do?


It’s no secret but the elephant in the room that no one wants to discuss: wage inequality contributes to the root cause of gendered poverty.

Women graduate from post-secondary education with student loans to repay and lesser way to do it. Wage inequality also contributes to gender inequality in Canada 22% pension gapwhich means that men retire with significantly higher incomes than their female counterparts.

1) Be aware

First, we must be careful not to contribute to a toxic “cancel culture”. Consider your performance before jumping to conclusions that you are a victim of an unequal pay gap. Ask yourself the tough questions and be honest: Is there a reason you’re being paid less? Are you meeting your deliverables and goals?

Be realistic: is there a clear path to advancement in your job family matrix? Working for big companies can involve a lot of paperwork and bureaucracy, while working in a startup culture can be the opposite. Consider all of this with your long-term goals and the level of risk you can handle.

2) Plan and prepare: do your research

Now that you have number 1 out of the way, ask yourself, “how can I convince my employer that my contribution is worth the raise?”

I don’t think it’s fair that we even need to advocate for equal pay with our employers, but let’s not take it personally. Change doesn’t happen right away, and it’s important to spark conversations that trigger reform.

Arm yourself with data to prove your case: talk to your friends and peers. Use Glassdoor, Monster and Payscale to better understand your industry. Gather facts and records of your accomplishments at work – research local equal pay laws.

3) Be confident and assertive

To be confident, you will need the right mindset and accomplishments to back it up. To assert yourself with confidence, you must have confidence in your skills, which are linked to each other. Hence the importance of entering this negotiation with your boss armed with facts and data.

4) Leave your emotions out of it

It may not be easy, but it’s best not to take these issues personally because there’s something bigger at work behind the scenes. We are fighting very institutionalized ways of thinking that have been ingrained in our society for decades. In the spirit of selflessness, reform takes time, but we must all contribute.

5) Work with your boss

Let’s reframe this problem as a problem of collaborating with your boss. How can you work together to develop solutions that will move the business forward as a whole? You can educate your boss and highlight how equal pay would contribute to the company’s long-term goals.

Evidence shows that various organizations outperform their peers.

In the book Conscious capitalism, we learn that values-driven companies that focus on forward-thinking work cultures help advance capitalism with a positive impact on the economy, which affects our quality of life. If we can reinvent capitalism by creating a change in mentality, we can contribute to this problem.

6) Consider new opportunities

Sometimes things don’t work out. If your boss doesn’t want to work with you, it’s time to consider new opportunities.

It is important to feel respected in one’s work because we spend a lot of time at work and our mental health must be a priority if we want to live a happy and productive life. Unfortunately, some employers do not recognize this basic human need.

I started my career in tech when I was 20, fresh out of school, and didn’t even know I had to negotiate a higher base salary, which affected all the pay raises. my whole career there. Over the years, I’ve spoken with many co-workers and learned that moving to a new company or even coming back as a contractor can negotiate higher salaries every time. Of course, this largely depends on your industry.

Part of this involves confidence and the ability to walk away from “stability”. It’s essentially a mindset shift – from a scarcity mentality to an abundance mentality. The world is full of opportunities, but we often get caught up in this stable job, this stable career.

I am fully aware that industries have different ‘rules’, many people have logistical issues, mortgages and childcare costs which adds an extra layer of complexity. But what can we do to take control of our destiny?

Does your partner have the opportunity to contribute more while you transition?

Do you have any savings or investments to tap into?

Can you devote time to learning a new skill?

Can you benefit from tax advantages?

Does your recurring business contribute to continuing education?

Is there a new skill you can learn? Schedule and dedicate a few hours a week to an online course.

Every small action taken consistently will result in exponential change.

I recommend talking to people, reading articles, listening to podcasts, and finding a mentor. Knowledge is power. The knowledge will inspire you and help you think outside the box to find creative ways to increase your income.

Life is all about taking risks, and risks are scary, but you should think ahead and keep your options open.

Good luck!

Kate Pn writes about mastering a healthy work-life balance with a focus on hacking productivity. write to him at [email protected]

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