It is a stark and sad reminder that in our progressive, and what is outwardly perceived as being equal society, companies still discriminate against women with regards to pay. It is not just an issue in Ireland but a significant issue across the whole of the EU. According to Eurostat the pay gap in Ireland was 17.3% in 2007, which was reduced to 13.9% in 2014, and one can only hope that in the last 4 years even more progress has been made to eliminate this gap.
As a society, due to our cultural restraint, and secrecy around pay, employees feel they cannot talk about pay in general, and the gender pay gap in particular. Businesses do everything they can to hide gender inequality related to salary structure because ultimately it saves them money. This unique set of circumstances creates the perfect environment that facilitates the inequalities.
In Ireland they have launched the National Strategy for Woman and Girls 2017-2020. After extensive public consultation, the Strategy has identified 6 key objectives, with the first objective being to advance socio-economic equality for woman and girls. This crucial framework is aimed to address the remaining obstacle to achieving equality for women and equal pay for equal work. Although it is reassuring to know that steps are being taken in this direction, the government have still not made it compulsory for companies to report on pay structures, and this is a crucial stumbling block.
The reasons for the gender pay gap are complicated and although there are various contributing factors, none of them make it excusable.
To assist women in this regard, we have outlined some key points that, as a woman, you can do to ensure that you are best placed to secure the fairest pay package.
One of the main reasons cited for the pay gap is down to the fact that women tend to be poor negotiators. Discussing pay is perceived to be socially taboo, however, when negotiating for your salary, this should not be the case.
Gender pay gaps tend to widen with age, so it is critical to maintain your negotiating skills. Don’t lose confidence. If you are committed to your career, the fact that you have a family should not be regarded as a weakness.
Although self-promotion can be an off-putting thought, it is important to let supervisors and others know when you have done something well and when you exceed your targets or reach your goals.
Look at the legislation in support of your career and use this as your voice. Look at the sector you are in and look at what they are doing to attract and retain women.
To initiate the conversations around pay can be daunting and somewhat intimidating but take solace in the fact that your male counterparts are doing the exact same thing and reaping the rewards.
At FMI we believe in celebrating females breaking through barriers – our business is filled with women doing just that! Come join our team – check out our website www.fmi.ie and join our team journey.