April 3, 2018

Bridging the gender pay gap

The Career Development Center (CDC)

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The gap in pay between men and women has barely budged in the past two decades. According to the American Association of University Women (AAUW), “in 2016, women working full time in the United States typically were paid just 80 percent of what men were paid, a gap of 20 percent.” The pay gap for women of color is even wider. For every dollar a white man makes, African American women earn 63 cents and Latinas earn 54 cents, per the AAUW.

Another staggering number: 2119. This is the year that the AAUW projects women will reach pay equity with men, assuming the current rate of change, which has slowed since 2001.

Students at Mount Holyoke’s Global Challenges Conference 2018
Students at Mount Holyoke’s Global Challenges Conference 2018

Equal Pay Day

An annual way to bring awareness to the pay gap is through Equal Pay Day. This day — April 10 in 2018 — represents how far into the new year a woman must work to match a man’s earnings from the previous year.  

You might be thinking …

How can I increase my confidence in salary negotiation? How much should I ask for? What if my employer says no or holds it against me?

Student presenters at the 2017 LEAP symposium
Student presenters at the 2017 LEAP symposium

Partners in equity

The Career Development Center, in  partnership with the AAUW, offers a Start Smart workshop April 11 from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. It is designed to empower Mount Holyoke graduates with the knowledge and skills to receive fair compensation as well as answer your burning questions about salary negotiation.

Salary negotiation alone won’t achieve pay equity for every woman, but it’s a step in the right direction. Unfortunately, it’s also something that many women struggle to initiate. And the pay gap costs women and their families in very real ways over the course of their careers — in excess of $1 million in lost wages, per the AAUW.

Here are four ways to avoid falling into the gender pay gap.

1. Know your value.

Identify and highlight your strengths. The more you’re able to demonstrate that your skills are an asset to the company, the more likely you are to convince your potential employer to extend a better pay offer.

2. Know your target salary and benefits.

Research what others in your industry, role and location are making. Look at data from sites such as the NACE Salary Guide (we have a copy at the CDC), Wage Project, Salary.com and Glassdoor.

3. Know your strategy.

There’s a time and a place for everything and that includes salary negotiation. You will not be successful if you walk into your first interview and start asking about benefits or making demands. Unsure what to do? We can help you devise a strategy.

4. Practice, practice, practice!

Your comfort level with the discussion will help set the tone for the negotiation. Plan what you’re going to say and then practice it aloud as many times as you need to in order to feel confident with asking for more.

Students at the 2017 Welcome Ceremony for New Alumnae (also known as the scarving ceremony).Students at the 2017 Welcome Ceremony for New Alumnae (also known as the scarving ceremony).

Looking for more personalized service?

The CDC is here for you. Make an appointment by calling 413-538-2080 at any time of the year. During the academic year, the CDC also offers walk-in hours:

At the CDC:  2:00 – 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday
At the MEWS: 10:00 a.m. – noon on Friday

Members of the class of 2017 get ready for Commencement
Members of the class of 2017 get ready for Commencement

Already graduated?

Alumnae who have graduated within the past five years are encouraged to connect with CDC alumnae resources for personalized support in their professional development. Our advisors offer in-person, phone and Skype appointments. Call the CDC at 413-538-2080 to schedule a time.

Initiate more for your future. Learn More

The Career Development Center (CDC) supports students as they explore their interests, refine their paths, find opportunities and prepare for life after college. To advance Mount Holyoke College’s curriculum-to-career experience, The Lynk, the CDC works closely with faculty, alumnae and employers to create and promote opportunities for experiential learning and full-time employment. The CDC offers personal appointments year-round and daily walk-in sessions during the academic year.
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