It’s 2021, and women still earn around $250 less per week than men.
Sadly, this comes as no surprise - despite the fact that earning less should not be the norm.
Yet here we are, and the gender pay gap has been stubbornly cemented in our financial lives since the measurements began.
In fact, according to the Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA), Australia’s national gender pay gap is currently 13.4 per cent.
As of November 2020, women’s average weekly ordinary full-time earnings across all industries and occupations was $1,562.00 compared to men’s average weekly ordinary full-time earnings of $1,804.20.
Do women ask for pay raises?
In short, yes, women do, but those that do, get rewarded with pay raises less than men.
According to a study done by HBR, women who asked for a raise actually got the raise 15 per cent of the time, compared to men at 20 per cent.
Now, that may sound like a modest difference, but it makes a cliff sized difference to the earnings women command versus men when you add it all up.
The fact is that women are also more sensitive to external circumstances than men.
That’s why, in a survey conducted by Glassdoor, 73 per cent of women didn’t ask for a pay raise during the COVID-19 pandemic, compared to 58 per cent of employed men who did.
Furthermore, the survey found that employed women would be 19 per cent less likely to ask for more money in the coming months than men.
I’d also like to add that not only is it important to ask for a pay raise, but how you ask can make a massive difference in the outcome.
Your preparedness, confidence and ability to negotiate will determine whether you get that raise and how much it will be.
We would know as we’ve used our pay negotiation formula to help women earn anywhere between $5,000 - $80,000 more!
Even female freelancers charge less
Even when women are their own bosses, the data suggests that women are significantly undercharging when compared to our male counterparts.
That’s right - the gender pay gap exists even when we’re paying ourselves.
Looking at over 200,000 invoices in a single month, HoneyBook’s report found that women made 32 per cent less on the whole, getting only 68 per cent of their male counterparts.
Freshbooks’ data confirmed the findings, stating that women who work for themselves average $56,184 in annual earnings, versus $77,540 for men.
And, when it comes to receiving payments, women are getting paid late as well.
According to Bonsai, female freelancers were paid late 31 per cent of the time compared to 24 per cent of the time for male freelancers.
So why is it that women are charging less than men? We’ll delve into the psychology of this more in the next section.
How to charge what you’re worth
When it comes to charging clients, many freelancers will set their rates based on what they were earning in their old jobs.
So, it makes sense that men are more likely to charge more from the start.
But more than that, I’ve noticed that the qualities that make women fantastic entrepreneurs (genuine concern for clients, understanding of the market, and a willingness to compromise) can also hamper us when it comes to negotiating fairer rates.
What makes us great freelancers - willingness to compromise, genuine concern for our clients, and empathy for our market - can also be detrimental to negotiating prices.
So, how can you overcome this?
If you run your own business:
Check your prices against both male and female freelancers in your field,
Charge by the project, not the hour or word-count,
Increase your prices regularly as your skill level grows,
Create a rate card and stick to it,
Focus on how you meet the requirements for a job - not where you fall short,
If a client won’t accept a higher price, reduce the scope of the work, and
And most importantly, lean into the discomfort!
If you’re employed by a company:
Head to websites like payscale.com and find out how much others with your title are earning,
Research current roles on the market and see how much they are offering,
Measure your contributions to the company in terms of meeting KPIs, earnings you’re bringing in, level of proficiency, unique skills you bring to the role and more,
Anchor your salary by naming the amount you’d like to be paid,
Decide if you’re willing to sacrifice pay for other benefits such as flexible working arrangements, increased superannuation, company car, or others, and
Finally, put together your case and head in with confidence!
Asking for more money is not always a comfortable conversation to have.
However, it’s important that you are paid your worth and that you don’t undersell yourself for fear of losing or offending a client or your employer.
You know how good your work is and how valuable you are - so it’s time for others to realise it too!
Shivani Gopal is the Founder and CEO of The Remarkable Woman; a women’s mentoring and leadership platform. Join their Signature Membership here and live a more remarkable life personally, professionally and financially.
And, take control of your money and learn to maximise it with the Women’s Money Movement! Join the club on LinkedIn.