In February 1869, a letter to the editor of The New York Times questioned why female government employees were not paid the same as their male counterparts. That year, a resolution to ensure equal pay for government employees passed in the House of Representatives by almost 100 votes, but it was ultimately watered down by the time it passed the Senate in 1870. That was 148 years ago and counting, and as we pause to mark another Equal Pay Day, it’s important to note that we still have significant work to do at the institutional level to create the context and legal framework to reach pay parity in the U.S.
This year, April 4 marks the day that a woman in this country has to work until in order to make the same amount as a man did in the prior calendar year. The fact that today exists stands as a testament to the road that remains before us in workplace evolution.
At this rate, projections estimate that the wage gap won’t close until 2058 — by that time many of us will have already left the workforce. Forty years is too long to wait for equal pay, which is why Levo’s fifth-annual #Ask4More Equal Pay awareness and education campaign is more crucial than ever. We want to help you make your voice be heard, take action, find mentors, and most importantly learn how to negotiate effectively and #Ask4More!
This year, we surveyed over 1000 millennials in our 2017 Levo Equal Pay Survey and learned that young people are still struggling with to ask for what they need:
- 59% of respondents did not negotiate their first salary. This is an opportunity to change the dynamic from the outset, as base salaries for a new job are often based on compensation from the former job, so if the gap exists from year one, it will only widen from there.
What’s more, data from our friends at HIRED.com shows that the average user on the platform who identifies as female sets her expected salary at $14,000 less per year than the average user who identifies as male.
- Of the 41% who did negotiate their first salary, 62% said they did not feel as if they had an understanding of how to negotiate effectively. This is one of the reasons why this conversation around wage equality is even more important than ever — by creating more awareness, normalizing this topic, and offering educational resources, we help to inspire each and every one of us to ask for what we are worth.
- 78% of respondents shared that they do not feel confident going into any salary negotiation at any stage of their career, and they would like to change that. Preparation can take the fear out of this process and set it up for success.
How can each of us individuals, no matter how we gender identify, learn from this inequity and change the dynamics for ourselves? How can we change these dynamics in the working cultures we contribute to day in and day out?
For more information on National Equal Pay Day, negotiation tips and inspiring stories, please visit Levo's campaign page for #AskForMore.