|Kathy Korman Frey|
The study compared starting salaries for men and women undergraduates and found a whopping 17% difference. The average annual salary for men with bachelor’s degrees was $44,159, while women started at just $36,451, 82% of what their male colleagues averaged. The data can’t be explained away by saying women pick different careers; Koc looked at the differences by field, and in every instance the men outpaced the women – except engineering where women had a slight salary edge over the men.
Coming out of the starting gate with this disadvantage will have a significant long-term impact to the total earning power of women, since most financial rewards and increases are based on current salary. Consider that it will take women ten years at a 2% annual increase to catch up to the salary their male peers started at, with women averaging $44,429 after ten years, while (with the same 2% annual increase) the men will be averaging $53,824.
So what’s a woman to do?
Kathy Korman Frey, Founder of The Hot Mommas Project and Entrepreneur in Residence at The George Washington School of Business, offers these tips:
1. Ask. Frey says, “Believe it or not, asking is a form of negotiation, and there's no harm in doing it. Did you know women don’t ask? We’re not so great at marketing ourselves and there are studies to substantiate this. Men initiate negotiations 2 to 3 times more often than women do.”
2. Know your value, and quantify it. “Create a value spreadsheet— not only what you need to live off of, but create a spreadsheet of what you bring to the table, and then add the actual measurable value in dollars. This enables you to walk in with confidence in an interview, asking for something you deserve, and if someone doesn’t give that to you go elsewhere.”
3) Mentors are a must. Frey suggests that everyone needs many mentors. “The Hot Mommas Project unpublished research shows that five is the magic number. People with five or more mentors demonstrate higher drive, have increased perceptions of success, and ascend higher.”
To learn more visit The Hot Mommas Project, the world’s largest women’s case study library providing scalable online mentorship for women and girls.