February 4, 2016
January 20, 2016
Employment opportunities abound for women in the non-traditional fields of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). The STEM career track is the fastest-growing track for women. There are so few women in these jobs that, when a woman walks in the door for an interview, she has a tremendous advantage. As in any interview, a women applying for work in the STEM fields must know and confidently speak about specifically what she can bring to the table and what she’s worth salary wise. Today’s hottest STEM jobs are in all types of engineering, computer programming and computer coding. Engineering is particularly hot because many of the baby boomer engineers are readying for retirement and that’s creating lots of spots for replacements.
Needless to say, women must have the right expertise and education to be able to excel in STEM jobs. In order to develop these talents young women are encouraged to do their homework when deciding which universities to attend and which courses of study to pursue. Career changers and stay at home moms who want to get into STEM positions should check out launchcode.org and Coder Girl, a network for support and encouragement from like-minded women. Coder Girl meets every Wednesday, from 6 to 8 p.m. at 4811 Delmar Blvd.
Careers in science, technology, engineering and match can be extremely lucrative. They can also help to address and solve many of the problems facing the world. And that, of course, is of great importance to many women.
While some things are getting better for women in the workforce, women, on average, are earning 26 cents less than men on the dollar. Women need to tackle this problem head-on and take responsibility for asking for, and getting, higher salaries.
Why is this happening, you ask? Women are socialized to think that things are fair. And so, when a hiring manager makes an initial salary offer, they tend to take it, no questions asked. What women fail to realize is that an initial offer is typically less, sometimes even far less, than what the hiring manager is willing to pay.
- Women often have no or poor negotiation skills. They need to develop these skills in order to get what they’re actually worth. In order to develop negotiation skills women should start by developing confidence in their skills. They need to understand exactly what they have to offer. Making a list of the skills they are good at is a great way to start. Then, they need to understand exactly what their skills are worth. Using salary calculators found online is a great way to do this (a Google search of “salary calculators” will reveal numerous resources).
- Next, women should let the prospective employer state the first salary offer. Then, they should come back with a counter-offer, keeping their research in mind and defining specifically why they’re worth the salary they’re asking for. Once women are comfortable with the salary offer they should ask for it in writing.
- If a woman does accept a low-ball salary she should ask for a performance and salary review in six months to bring her salary up to where it should be.
Yes it’s true that society has some changes to make regarding pay disparities for women. But it’s equally true that women need to change in order to take responsibility for their own salary negotiations. Many of the women we at Connections to Success serve invest a lot of their time in preparation for job interviews. They also need to prepare for salary negotiation. We can help them and you be prepared to ask for the wage you deserve. By doing so, you will join the movement for gender pay equality!