Anyone who knows me knows I love a good salary negotiation. For some of my clients, though, it’s the hardest part of their job search. But when done properly, it pays. Literally.
A strong salary negotiation is especially important for women, who still earn less than men for doing the same work. Here are six surprising statistics from a recent study about the gender pay gap that can help you understand your worth in the workplace and empower you to demand the pay that you deserve.
1. There are a few fields where women make more than men. While a gender pay gap still exists overall (women made 79 cents on a dollar of what men made in 2015), there are some industries where women do better than men. In publishing and printing, women make 8.7% more than men. Other fields that women make more than men overall include peripheral equipment and software for computers (women make 7.2% more than men), prepackaged software (4%), computer programming services (1.9%), and telephone communication (1.2%). Not massive differences, but still cool that there are fields where women prevail. If you’re a female in any of these areas, you have more leverage. So keep hold of the reins in your salary negotiation, because the power is yours for the taking.
2. Women in the science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) workforce make a whopping 33% more on average than women in other fields. These fields are obviously very underrepresented by women, so if a solid paycheck is what you’re after, STEM is the way to go.
3. There basically is no pay gap in a few industries. If you work in business consulting, personal credit institutions, or electronic computers, you’re bringing home about the same pay as your male counterparts. (The way it should be, am I right?!?)So you’ll have a pretty level playing field going into salary negotiations in any of these fields regardless of your gender.
4. If you’re a woman in IT, you’ll need to work it when you negotiate your salary. Men in IT make 13% more than women, so they definitely have a clear advantage. Don’t fret too much, though. Even though women in IT will have a little less leverage than men in negotiations, basically all industries (IT included) expect prospective employers to negotiation, so negotiating will still likely work to your benefit.
5. Women hold top leadership positions in only 5% of technology companies. If you’re female and looking to climb the ladder to the top of your field, tech will probably be one of the hardest to mount.
6. Only 26% of the technology workforce is comprised of women. Another not-so-good revelation about the tech industry. But, women in IT—who are basically unicorns—can use this to their advantage in salary negotiations, as more and more companies are striving to diversify their work forces.
As the study points out, we still have a long way to go when it comes to equal pay for men and women. However, it’s encouraging to know that some industries have already leveled the playing field and that many government agencies and other organizations are actively working to accomplish this across all industries. In the meantime, understanding how the pay scale works in your field—regardless of your gender—is imperative in salary negotiations. Know what you’re worth going into the salary discussion, and you’re much more likely to land a salary that reflects matches your worth.