Chicks Deserve to Earn What We're Worth

I don't get worked up that often about gender issues. I like to think I've got a pretty pragmatic approach to the issues in the workplace.

My thinking goes like this...there's historically been more men in the workplace, the culture has evolved to be like the men that dominate the numbers, and this means there are subtleties and nuances to how work works that aren't intuitive for Career Chicks. The solution is if you can learn about the differences to bridge the gap you significantly improve your chances of career success ...when you're work can be judged on it's own merit. That's it!

But when I read today in the Sydney Morning Herald an article, by an economist, about the changes to tax rates for the start of the financial year, I was not amused. Why? The interest creating remark to lead into the article (I get the need for an interest creating angle, it was an article about tax!) started with "Forgive me: I'm tickled by the latest joke: the good thing about having a woman as prime minister is we don't have to pay her as much". He goes on to say this won't actually happen. So it's not true, and it's not funny.

In Australia the Equal Opportunity for Women in the Workplace Agency (EOWA) reported as recently as 2008 that in ASX 200 companies female Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) earn only two-thirds the salary of their male counterparts. Take one step down and the female Chief Financial Officers (CFOs) and Chief Operating Officers (COOs) earn, on average, half of their male equivalents’ salary. Even those women who have made it to the top don’t earn as much as the men.

Across their census of all Top Earner positions, the EOWA study found that women’s overall median pay was 58% of the overall median pay for men. It gets worse. In Human Resources, where women in senior positions are more common than in some other fields, the pay gap is still 43%. And these results are for women classified as top earners!

For Career Chicks who aren’t in the top-earner category, it’s no better. The gap between men and women’s average weekly earnings was 35% for all employees earnings and 21% for full-time employees in Australia in 2009.

A laughing matter? I think not.

It's the end of the financial year in Australia. And the end of June everywhere else. A good time to make a New Financial Year or New Month Resolution to make sure you develop the skills to negotiate to Earn What You're Worth..

Check out next weekend's blog for some Career Chick Hot Tips (from my book "Hot Tips for Career Chicks") for the Top 5 tips from the chapter, Earn What You're Worth.

Then when you've negotiated the money you deserve, that will give you something to smile about.

Happy New Financial Year!

Girls Rule's a big deal!

Well, today is certainly a historic day for Australia ... a female Australian Prime Minister. Which means that for those of us who live in Sydney we have a Super-duperfecta! I made that word up. (A superfecta is a racing betting term that describes picking the winnng four horses in the exact order that they finish. But in Sydney we have 5 chicks in charge.)

Quentin Bryce, Governor-General; Julia Gillard, Prime Minister; Kristina Keneally NSW Premier; Professor Marie Bashir, NSW Governor and Clover Moore is the Lord Mayor of Sydney. Whatever your politics, whatever your view on the monarchy or any of the other underlying issues regarding the positions or the people. This is a-m-a-z-i-n-g.

Part of me wants to say, Why is it a big deal that Julia Gillard is the first female Prime Minister of Australia? Why aren't we debating her qualifications? Her capabilities? Her suitability for the role? Why is the issue of discussion that she is a chick?

For me, the answer lies in the truth that she is the first. There really wasn't a big deal made out of the fact when Hillary Clinton was appointed as the third female U.S. Secretary of State. But there was plenty to be said when she was running for the Presidency as the first potential female to hold that office.

Being first is a big deal. First to win an Olympic race wins the gold medal, first to invent something gets the patent, famous firsts go in the record books. And Julia Gillard's elevation to Prime Minister is certainly one for the record book. As is the super-defecta we have at all levels of Government. (Do you think I can get my new word trending on twitter?) Who would have thought we would ever have had a chick (g-g) swearing in a chick (pm)? Not I. It is a big deal.

I look forward to the third female Australian Prime Minister (whoever she will be) being sworn in and not a comment being made about her gender. But for now, we have a first ... it's a big deal.


Time gives perspective

Recently, Nigel Marsh, the author of "Fat, Fired and Forty" spoke at the Tedx event in Sydney on the ongoing battle for work and life balance.

The tricky thing with the whole topic of work and life balance is that work is part of life.

Marsh provides a refreshing and humorous perspective on the issue. He also provides a handy framework to look at it. Which is to judge yourself and your success in achieving balance on a time frame that is achievable and realistic. Waiting until retirement is too long, he says. But trying to live "the" perfect day each day is unlikely to be achievable.

This is a great way to look at success in many areas of life including the achievement of 'career success'. What does this look like? And how long have you given yourself to achieve these goals?

If you're feeling under pressure perhaps the goal is right for you but the time frame you are judging your success on is too short?

Something to think about anyway. Check out Marsh's video on YouTube.

Stay focused on you.


Learn the language of your organization

I just found a scrap of paper in my desk draw with a quote I had written down when I was writing "Hot Tips". It's from French philosopher, Henri Delacroix, who is long departed from this world, as he passed away in 1937. But his words "the individual's whole experience is built upon the plan of his language" are just as relevant today.

And they are particularly relevant for anyone trying to figure out how to communicate effectively at work. Each country, industry and organization has it's own unique communications style. You don't need to communicate exactly like everyone else but if you don't at least understand the style, it can put you at a distinct disadvantage.

If everyone is speaking in acronyms that you don't know it can be like listening to another language. You need to know what these are. Or if people in your organization have a specific process that they refer to all the time, you need to understand this also.

Connecting with others, in the way they understand best, can make the difference between career success and just having a job.

Understanding and adapting your communication to the accepted business style can have a substantial impact on your career potential and success. Speak the language and you can effectively demonstrate your knowledge, skills and how you contribute to the organization.

Today's Career Chick Hot Tip: Learn the language of your organization, profession or industry.

Have a successful week!