Women need to be more confident about promoting themselves, highlighting their skills and negotiating for what they are worth if they want to overcome perceptions of pay inequality, says a senior Auckland recruitment consultant.
In a recent international survey by Robert Half 65% of New Zealand women respondents said they think that men are paid more than women for doing the same job.
But in the latest Robert Half podcast, senior manager Megan Alexander says she does not see employers discriminating against women this way. However, she frequently sees female candidates underselling themselves.
“What I do see is that women take themselves out of higher-paying jobs because of the other choices they make in their personal lives,” she says. As a result, fewer women than men tend to apply for higher-paying jobs.
As well, she says that women often don’t sell their skills as effectively as men do.
“I do think that women need to learn to sell themselves better … they sell themselves short in a lot of instances, they don’t talk about what they can bring to the role enough.
This also occurs in pay reviews for existing employees, says Ms Alexander. Many women are not confident about asking in reviews what they need to do to win a pay rise and advance their career.
“Because they don’t go in and ask and don’t self-promote – they tend to hang back – that’s when they don’t get recognition.”
But employers also have their part to play in communicating candidly with female employees about what their aspirations are, what their career paths could be, and what they need to do to achieve them, she says.
“I think employers don’t spend enough time doing that.”
It is also important for women to get appropriate mentoring, from people who can help them balance their career and personal aspirations, so they don’t have to compromise one for the other, she says.
As well, many organisations are missing out on a significant pool of talent by not investigating how some roles can be filled by people who wanted to job share, work flexible hours or sometimes work from home.
“I think a lot of organisations dismiss these ideas and say it won’t work, but have they really tried?” she asks.
Ms Alexander says that even though she does not see pay discrimination happening, “perception is reality”, and employers need to ensure that their processes are fair and seen to be fair.
“An employer never wants to have their brand reputation put into jeopardy. It’s really, really important that it’s demonstrated that women have the same fair and equal opportunities as men and vice versa.”
To achieve this, employers need to ensure that “everyone gets a fair go, based on their skill set and what they bring to the organisation”.
The Robert Half podcast on Women in the Workplace is available for download at http://rhiwatch.viotv.com
Creating a level playing field
Tips for women
Tips for employers
For further information, please contact Alan Chapman, Director of Marketing & PR on +61 2 9241 6255.