Equal Pay Day: Pay secrecy is fuelling the gender pay gap

Asian pretty woman chat and gossip someone with her friend in coffee shop, pay rise, secrecy

Pay secrecy is fuelling the gender pay gap, according to new research.

The survey, conducted by Glassdoor, has found that women across the UK are being disadvantaged due to a lack of salary transparency.

The findings, published on Equal Pay Day, found that just one in four full-time employees in the UK strongly agree their workplace is transparent about pay. Further to this, 54 per cent of workers admit that they are apprehensive about discussing salary with their boss.

67%

of female workers didn’t ask for a pay rise in 2020

67%

of female workers didn’t ask for a pay rise in 2020

26%

less likely than men to ask for a pay rise

26%

less likely than men to ask for a pay rise

OVER HALF

of women admit they lack the confidence to ask for a pay rise

OVER HALF

of women admit they lack the confidence to ask for a pay rise

The lack of discussion around pay is contributing to inequality for women: 67 per cent of female workers did not ask for a pay rise in 2020, 30 per cent more than men.

In the last year, just 35 per cent of those working in the female-dominated industries of education, healthcare, and hospitality asked for a wage increase compared to 62 per cent of those working in the traditionally male-dominated world of finance and 56 per cent in tech.

Women are also 26 per cent less likely than their male counterparts to ask for more money in the next 12 months, with the survey finding just 37 per cent of women plan to ask for a pay rise next year.

Over half of women admit they lack the confidence to ask for a pay rise. As a result, just 33 per cent of female workers negotiated the salary of their last job offer (compared to 45 per cent of men). Two in five women revealed that they simply accepted the salary that was offered to them (compared to 35 per cent of men). 

Glassdoor tips for employees when asking for a raise

  • Build your case: Research is essential to an effective pay conversation. Tools like Glassdoor’s Salary Estimates and Know Your Worth personalised salary calculator paired with data on the impact you’ve brought to your role will help you identify the right pay range for your needs and build a case when talking with an employer.
  • Practice: Remember that negotiating or asking for a pay raise is a discussion. Practice with friends and family to build confidence and practice what you want to say and how you’ll respond. Use a guide as helpful prompts you can lean on in your conversation.
  • Find your window of opportunity: Knowing when to ask is just as important as the discussion itself. Negotiating during a job offer is a common starting point. After a successful project or before an annual performance review are also opportune times to initiate a salary conversation.

Nearly three in four of all employees got the wage increase they asked for last year, indicating that women will continue to miss vital opportunities to increase their earning potential.

Speaking about the findings, Jill Cotton, Glassdoor’s Career Expert said, “Workplace transparency is a hallmark of many successful companies and more transparency is needed in the future.” 

“One in two women admit to lacking confidence at work – companies should open an honest discussion around salary from the point that the role is advertised and throughout the person’s time with the organisation.”

“Having clear salary bands limits the need for negotiation which, as the Glassdoor research shows, has a detrimental effect on female employees’ ability to earn throughout their career.”

About the author

Alison is the Digital Content Editor for WeAreTheCity. She has a BA Honours degree in Journalism and History from the University of Portsmouth. She has previously worked in the marketing sector and in a copywriting role. Alison’s other passions and hobbies include writing, blogging and travelling.

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