A recent study confirmed that women in the United States continue to earn less than men in the workplace–and Latinas earn even LESS. For every dollar that a man makes, a Latina earns 60 cents (on average, women make 77 cents for each dollar a man makes). It’s estimated that in a lifetime, Latina women earn about $800,000 LESS than a man. As a country, we should be ashamed of these numbers!
Aside from encouraging legislation that will eliminate this salary gap and to continue working so that employers decide to change their own internal policies that favor this difference in wages, there are things that you can do yourself so that you don’t fall behind when it comes to your salary.
• Find out how much men charge for services comparable to the one you’re offering or how much a man makes in a similar position to yours and with the same educational level. Find a way to ask delicately so that you’ll get the information you need.
• Negotiate, negotiate, negotiate. From the time you receive the initial offer, you should negotiate throughout your entire career. Take what you’re offered at first as a starting point instead of simply accepting it as a final number. This works whether you work in housekeeping or at a high-level job at a big company. These are the two possible conversation scenarios:
Employer: “I’m going to pay you $60 to come an clean my house once every two weeks.”
Your answer should be: “Thank you for the offer, but my regular rate is $85. I’m a completely trustworthy person, I have 10 years’ experience, and I can provide references. Do you think you can pay me my regular rate?”
Employer: “We’d like to offer you $57,000 to start the first of next month.”
Your possible answer: “Thank you for your offer and I’m very excited about the possibility of working for XYZ. But I thought the salary would be closer to $65,000, which is what colleagues working in similar positions in the industry are making. I have 10 years’ experience, I know I can help XYZ do X, and I’d love to be part of your team. What is the possibility that you can improve the offer?”
• Keep negotiating. If you are self-employed, adjust your rate for your services every year, even if it’s only 5 or 10 percent, to account for inflation and a small increase for yourself. If you work on salary, sit down with your supervisor every six months to evaluate your accomplishments and make sure you’re equally compensated for those with salary increases or extra benefits.
• Maintain professional relationships with a circle of men or women who are used to negotiating so they can help you with your negotiation strategies.
• If you work for a company, look for jobs that will give you more visibility instead of support roles which are less visible. These are usually paid less.
• Getting rid of the salary gap is in your hands. There are many external forces responsible for this shameful difference between men and women. But if you do everything that’s in your hands to make that gap much smaller, you’ll keep more money in your pocket while this situation is solved on a higher level.
Image via Thinkstock
This article was originally published on Mamas Latinas.