Graduation is around the corner and many Scientistas will be negotiating their first job offer. It’s a daunting task, but you can prepare yourself by reading Dr. Evelyn Murphy’s Getting Even (over Spring Break, perhaps?) or attending one of the workshops offered by the WAGE Project (a non-profit started by Murphy and colleague, Annie Houle).
Through my position at the American Physical Society (APS), I had the pleasure of meeting Dr. Murphy and learning more about the WAGE Project’s $tart $mart workshops. I asked her about Getting Even and how Scientistas can prepare for their first salary negotiation after graduation.
Dr. Murphy is the founder of The WAGE Project. She has conducted Work $mart salary negotiation workshops for working women in nonprofit organizations, women lawyers, accountants, librarians, physicians, and pharmacists. She coaches individuals in salary negotiation and facilitates $tart $mart workshops.
Evelyn Murphy is a former Lt. Governor of Massachusetts, Chair of the Board of SBLI USA Mutual LIfe Insurance Company and director of Citizens Energy Corporation. She earned a BA in mathematics from Duke University; MA in economics from Columbia University; PhD in economics from Duke University.
I was inspired to write Getting Even because I always assumed the gender wage gap would disappear during my working life. When I started working full time, the gender wage gap was 40 cents! Throughout subsequent decades, I heard that women earned less than men because we were not as well educated, did not work as long or as hard as men, and that we really did not need as much money because husbands would support us. But, by the late 1990s, women were graduating from college at the same (even greater) rates than men; women's paychecks were crucial to families; many women, either divorced, separated, never married, or widowed, were the major providers for themselves and those who depended on them, and women were working almost as long and certainly as hard as men.
In short, all the reasons the wage gap supposedly existed were outdated—yet a 23-cent wage gap persisted. Moreover, from 1993 to today, the wage gap has remained essentially unchanged.
As an economist I wanted to examine the data underpinning the wage gap in depth. As a former public official, I know what public policy and government can and cannot do. And, with years of experience in corporations and on corporate boards of directors, I know what employers need to do. So, it was from these diverse perspectives and experiences that I decided to research and write the book—not just to describe what creates the wage gap today—but also, what can be done to eliminate it.
What should Scientistas know about the wage gap?
Female students should know that the gender wage gap is not going away in their lifetimes unless they act on their own behalf to get paid fairly, i.e., what they are worth. They also need to know that today's wage gap mean that, after graduating from college, they will make over $1 million less than the young man graduating with them over the course of their working lives....unless they act.
And they need to know that this $1 million loss accumulates over time, in small bits of losses. No single action will enable them to realize an added $1 million. They must learn to make sure that they are paid what they are worth every step along the way in their careers.
How can Scientistas prepare for their first job and the salary negotiation process?
To prepare for their first job and the salary negotiation process, attend a $tart $mart workshop this spring. Attend one of the APS workshops on March 17th in Baltimore*. If that's not possible, check out the WAGE calendar. See where a workshop is being held on a campus nearby. And if a workshop is not nearby, make the effort to get to a site.
It is critical to learn how to determine what you are worth for the job that you seek, in the location where you want to work. It is just as important to learn how to be persuasive about your skills, qualifications, and your work ethics. And, you must understand when to negotiate, how to avoid starting a salary negotiation before you have a job offer, and how to move the discussion to the point where you are paid fairly, both in your salary and benefits.
*On Sunday, March 17th, APS will host two $tart $mart workshops for students at the Hilton Baltimore (workshops are three-hours in length and offered 10am-1pm and 2-5pm; there is no cost to attend but application is required). Space is limited, so apply as soon as possible at http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/YKNFJTS.
Evelyn Murphy: http://bizj.us/l6lvr/i/1
Woman: Image courtesy of imagerymagestic/FreeDigitalPhotos.net