By Dr. Maria G. Hernandez
Latina Cubicle Confidential™
Even though it has been 50 years since the passage of the Equal Pay Act, there still remains a 23 cent wage gap between men and women. Unfortunately, it’s much worse for Latinas. Latinas on average earn 60 cents for every dollar earned by men. The Center for American Progress points to a wide range of factors that can play a role in wage disparity ranging from union membership status to the type of job a woman holds and years of experience.
Sometimes it’s also about asking for what you deserve.
For Latinas this can be especially hard. We are likely to hesitate to draw attention to ourselves and to be anything less than a team player. Out of loyalty to our boss, we may give him or her the benefit of the doubt that everyone is earning the same pay.
Even if you are happy with your current salary or hourly rate, do your homework on what people in your industry working at your level are earning. It is not appropriate to ask co-workers what they earn. However you can look on job postings for your company and others in your industry to see what is being offered as a salary range.
You can also invest in a salary study on line to see what you should earn based on your industry, location and years of experience. If you learn that your pay is below average, you still have a few more steps to take before asking for a raise.
First, make sure you are meeting all the performance goals you and your boss have agreed upon and that you have a solid six months of demonstrated success on the job. Next, make it part of your regular routine to send an email summarizing what you’ve accomplished each month — especially anything that is above and beyond your regular duties. Treat the email as a way of reporting in and list each accomplishment as a matter of fact.
Last but not least, practice “the ask” by linking your performance and salary information together: “I’m so glad you see the value of my accomplishments these past six months. I’d like to be compensated for those efforts by receiving a 5% raise. It will also make my salary consistent with industry standards.” This communicates you are willing to stand up for yourself and that you are tracking what’s taking place in your industry.
If your boss says no, take a deep breath and ask why. It may be a matter of negotiating the right amount given the business conditions. It also may reveal a communication gap between you and your boss if they don’t recognize all of your accomplishments.
When you are convinced that your performance is on track and your boss just won’t give you the pay you deserve, plan your exit strategy. Your search for a new job must begin right away. It’s much better to work where you are valued and where you know you are earning what you deserve.
Tell me how you got your raise at Latina Cubicle Confidential™ or join me live at the next LatinaVIDA™
Dr. Maria G. Hernandez has 20 years experience consulting in both the United States and Mexico to senior executives in Fortune 50 companies and facilitated change initiatives for elected officials and their staff. She has worked in academia, business, nonprofits, technology startups, and public agencies. For more information, visit Latina Cubicle Confidential™ on Facebook or on Twitter @SavvyLatinaInfo.