Did you know that professional women working full-time earn approximately 18% – 22% less than their male counterparts in exactly the same job? The gender pay gap regularly makes the headlines and serves as a reminder that when it comes to equality in the workplace, there is still somewhat of a gap.
Men are still being paid more than women. In fact, even before the impact of having children is considered, a woman is earning 18% less than a man per hour. It therefore makes little financial sense for a couple to sacrifice the man’s higher salary, so more often than not women will take the hit. They are the ones who will step off the career ladder, who will miss out on promotions in the future and who will find themselves on the back-foot when negotiating their re-entry into their professions.
When children come along, our priorities change. Life changes and we are faced with new decisions. Saying “yes” to some things means saying “no” to others. What is important is making sure that we, as women, are not compromising what we really want!
I have been coaching professional women for the last 7 years. Some have children and some do not. Some work for organisations, some work for themselves but all have been at different stages of their careers.
Yet what is interesting is that, with the exception of one, I do not recall a conversation where the focus has been about salary. What I do hear is that women want a career in which they can honour their values. Women want to make a difference. They want to feel valued. They want to personally develop and grow and work in an environment where there is regular communication and they know what is expected of them – these are the words that I hear over and over.
If the values of the organisation we are in are very different from our own, no amount of money is likely to compensate for compromising fulfilment.
A senior manager in an organisation I was working with commented that I was very enthusiastic and he hoped the organisation would not beat that out of me. When I told him that at the first sign of that happening I would be giving in my notice, he was left rather flabbergasted! Life is too short to be hanging around in an organisation where that could happen – regardless of the pension!
Our work life, just like any other part of our life is about finding the balance that is right for us. By working out what is a priority, what is important and then speaking up to make sure we get what we want, we can have it all – just sometimes not all at once!