Audiology is a female driven profession with approximately 85% of professionals being women. So why is it that women, with the same educational credentials, are still paid significantly less than men? According to a survey published by ASHA in June of 2019, female audiologists make as much as 30% less than their male counterparts.
I have difficulty understanding this disparity. Shouldn’t pay be driven by the educational and experience of the professional? I’ve heard the argument that the pay difference is because some women choose to work part time because they have children. Should that really matter? Part time employees usually are less costly to a business than full time employees because they aren’t eligible for the same benefits as full time employees.
Or, it may be because women are less inclined to speak up about what they feel they are worth.
It’s been my experience that women tend to under estimate their abilities or more likely, that women are just not comfortable negotiating. Any employee is less likely to get a pay increase if they just sit by and wait for it to happen. If you want to be compensated for the value you bring to a business or organization, keep track of the unique skills you bring to the position and the revenue that those skills produce. Once you have calculated the value of those services to the business, then present your numbers and don’t hesitate to negotiate what you feel you are worth.
The second problem I see is that women undermine their abilities.
When was the last time someone complimented you on a job well done and you answered, “It didn’t really take me that long”? It’s OK to say “Thanks!” and then take some time to revel in the compliment. I recently congratulated a colleague on what I felt was her incredible success and she revealed her feelings of inadequacy by assuring me that her business was not nearly as successful as many of her colleagues. It’s easy to surrender to feelings of self-doubt but there is nothing wrong with delighting in much deserved recognition. If we don’t celebrate our successes, who will?
It’s been my experience that being a bold, assertive, successful woman is not always easy. Success and likeability are positively correlated for men but negatively correlated for women. You have got to be willing to speak out and to stand up for what you know you deserve. Being “nice” doesn’t always produce the results we want or deserve.
Sheryl Sandberg made a statement in her book Lean In that really impressed me– “You will never get the corner office if you aren’t sitting at the table.” A mental picture of Board Meetings driven by men sitting around a table and an executive assistant sitting at the back of the room taking notes comes to mind. Everyone knows who was really doing most of the work at those meetings. Yes, women in this world have come a long way but still less than 7% of Fortune 500 companies are headed by women.
The time has come, in fact, the time is long overdue for Women in Audiology to take our place at the table and to fight for the same pay and leadership positions of our male colleagues. Fight your Fears and learn how to negotiate!