Magazine article Black Issues in Higher Education

Run Silent, Run Cheap: The High Price of Not Asking for Salary Equity

Magazine article Black Issues in Higher Education

Run Silent, Run Cheap: The High Price of Not Asking for Salary Equity

Article excerpt

In today's environment, white

males are increasingly feeling

as if they are being personally

blamed for the fact that there is

still a significant wage gap

between whites and Blacks and

men and women.

This has -- in typically convoluted

fashion -- led to a backlash against affirmative

action and other equity programs.

Singling out white-male-dominated upper

management will not contribute to ensuring pay

equity. Therefore, the practical question is: "What

actions can women and minorities proactively take to

substantially lessen the salary gap?"

We each thought we were alone among

professionals who had made it to executive-level

positions without asking for more money upon being

offered a new position. Both of us felt disappointed in

ourselves for this because, in general, we are

assertive and have no qualms about clearly stating our

opinions, decisions and solutions to problems to both

males and females. However, we were not showing

the same assertiveness when it came to our own

needs. Are we really that different from other women

and minorities?

To determine this, one of us (Thompson-Stacy),

decided to personally interview women deans, vice

presidents and presidents at two-year campuses in a

Midwestern state to identify strategies they had used

to gain these positions.

More Work, No More Money

To our surprise, Thompson-Stacy found that 80

percent of the top-level female administrators

interviewed had not done any salary negotiation

when offered their current and past positions..

Consequently, 60 percent of the total population

surveyed believed that they are -- or have been -- paid

substantially less than their male counterparts.

Several examples were given to document the

salary gap that the women were experiencing. One of

the most striking is the situation where a woman dean

was asked to perform the duties of another

administrator who had left. Because of financial

concerns at the college, no one was immediately being

hired to replace him. She told her supervisor that she

would take on these additional responsibilities until

someone was hired. This woman performed both jobs

for five years with no additional pay for the extra

responsibilities. The only pay increase that she received during

this time period was the same percentage increase in

salary that all of the administrators received.

However, male colleague at the same institution as

this woman dean was also asked to take on a large

project. He said that he would supervise the project

only if he received extra pay and that the extra pay be

put into his base salary. His request was approved.

According to the female dean, "It never occurred to

me to ask for more money for taking on additional

duties, and it never occurred to my male colleague to

not ask for additional money." This is a telling

statement.

Retirement Earnings Affected

Variations of this example take place daily in

higher education administration. Women and

minorities do not negotiate well or at all for

themselves -- while white males do. What does this

mean? It means that when women and minorities are

offered a position, they tend to either accept or reject

the offer when it is made. They seldom ask for more

money. Therefore, they often begin jobs at a salary of

several thousand dollars less than a white male who

has asked for more money before accepting a position.

Institutions of higher education tend to grant the

same percentage increases to administrators at

the beginning of the fiscal year. …

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