Women Value Equal Pay Over Perks, Career Expert Says

By Chloe Aiello

Games and snacks won't help keep quality employees, but equal pay and career development will, said Lauren McGoodwin, CEO and founder of the women's career development site Career Contessa.

"Ditch the ping-pong tables ー that's not really helping us keep people around and [boost] retention ー and think about investing in leadership training," McGoodwin told Cheddar on Wednesday.

Speaking a day after Equal Pay Day ー which represents how much additional time it would take the average woman to earn what the average white man earned in the previous year ー McGoodwin called for greater transparency to help eliminate the persistent pay gap.

Employers don't have to "print everyone's salary and put it on an excel sheet," McGoodwin said, but they should be more open. Until then, it is up to employees to communicate with each other.

"One of the reasons why the wage gap even exists is because there is all this secrecy around who is getting paid what for what job," McGoodwin said. "Really what people need to understand is that salary secrecy is something that really only benefits the employers, and so why are we as employees kind of going along with that?"

It would take the average woman 20 percent longer to earn what her white male counterpart earned in 2018. For black and Hispanic women, however, the discrepancy is even greater, according to The Institute for Women's Policy Research.

Despite persistent wage inequality, workers today benefit from a tight labor market that didn't exist a decade ago during the Great Recession. If an employee doesn't like her salary, benefits, the office culture, or isn't getting adequate professional development, she can leave and find a new job.

"Now we get to say things like, 'I want better pay, I want better flexibility, I want more perks,'" McGoodwin said. "So for the first time employees really have this power, or they can look for other opportunities."

For full interview click here.

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