Know Your Worth: Ask For The Salary You Deserve

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In September, we studied gender bias in job ads and encouraged employers to avoid any unconscious bias in their postings to decrease their chances in finding the perfect candidate.

This month, we wanted to take a look at what our data could tell us about the gender pay gap. To get the most accurate read, our team split up the data by gender then further took a look into the application rates and desired salaries by both region and industry.

Because our data comes from self-reported desired salaries and not actual salaries, we have insight into the value women place on their own work rather than the dollar amount the marketplace puts on it.

What we found was significant: the overall average desired salary for men – that is, the pay they want to receive at their next job – is a staggering $11,103.65 higher than women.

What we’re left to question: how do we bridge this gap? How do we educate women on their worth? First, we want to share the facts we found from our study.

We’re seeing a huge gap in the industries of law, industrial goods and services, business, education, and science and engineering. In other words, the data tells us that in the field of law, the average desired salary for men is $65,446 as opposed to $44,914. That’s a $20,531 difference in the value women are placing on their work.

Surprisingly, we found that real estate, food & beverage, and personal care are three industries in which women tend to have a higher desired salary than men. In the personal care industry, which includes jobs in child care, barber shops, and salons, women request on average $5,512 more than men. Perhaps this is in large part because women make up the majority of personal care workers, holding up to 62% of  jobs in the industry, according to a 2016 Economic & Social Contributions report.  

For context, the overall application rate for men in 2016 is 36% and 33% for women. The graph below breaks down the application rates according to specific industries.  

Of all sectors, food and beverage holds the highest application rate for men (53.7%) and travel tourism for women at 36.9%.  

To get a better feel for the average desired salaries within highlighted industries, we’ve included those numbers in the chart below.

When analyzing the desired salaries according to particular regions, ZipRecruiter found that women ask for the highest salaries in the Northeast, at an average number of $61,291.95. The same goes for men, but they want on average $18,610.96 more than women.

As mentioned in our September blog post on gender-bias in job ads, it’s always best to take a stab at applying for the job even if your skills are not a 100% match for the job. There’s nothing to lose by being proactive in attempting to advance your career, but potential gains include higher pay and more upward career mobility. This data, in tandem with average desired salary numbers, suggests that job seekers should be more self-confident in applying for new opportunities and negotiating starting salaries.

We put together the following tips to ensure you get the salary you deserve.  

Do your research. Look at the data and information available online for average salaries for your profession in your region and consider the value you’ll add to the company. Do you go above and beyond? Try and find the number that you truly feel reflects your worth as an employee.

Find a mentor. Sheryl Sandberg credits her success to her mentor Larry Summers, who was her professor at Harvard University. Talk to experts in your chosen profession, join clubs that allow you to network, and meet new people in the industry. Having contacts across your industry will help give you insight into going salaries in your field, ensuring you don’t undersell yourself.

Politely and respectfully get what’s rightfully yours. Once you find the number that sounds and feels right, stick to it and don’t be afraid to ask for it. Requesting that higher salary may perhaps shows that you have more confidence in your abilities to contribute value to the company. All in all, having that confidence and trusting yourself is likely to give you the best results.

“Believe in yourself and negotiate for yourself. Own your own success.”  

Sheryl Sandberg, Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead

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