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Huber: Women earn about 82 percent of wages in same jobs as men

On April 1, 2014

Female students from different backgrounds gathered in the University Inn and Conference Center on Saturday afternoon for a workshop on salary negotiation presented by the Association of University Women and the Women Are Getting Even, or WAGE, Project.

Jamie Huber, program coordinator for the Center for Women and Gender, said the workshop tries to help mediate the fact that women statistically earn less than men
in the corporate world.

“They work the same jobs but earn only 82 percent of what men earn,” she said.

Leah Hazlett, a senior studying environmental studies, said she knew the wage gap existed but had never put it in a monetary perspective before attending the workshop.

“I learned how quickly the wage gap between male and female workers can add up over time,” she said. “The workshop showed that difference in the first two years could potentially be $10,000 for two individuals who started out making $4,000 apart from each other when percentage bonus and raises are factored in. Your starting wage is extremely important.”

Huber said this semester is the first one the workshop, called Start Smart, has been brought to Utah. It could not have come at a better time.

“It’s really become important in the last couple of weeks,” she said. “A national survey just indicated that Utah has the second largest gender wage gap in the country.”

Annie Hould, national director of campus and community initiatives for the WAGE Project, presented the workshop and has been involved with the WAGE Project for nine years.

Hould helped create the workshop after learning one of the main reasons for the gender wage gap is the fact that women are less likely than men to negotiate a starting salary and benefits package, either because they don’t know how or they don’t feel comfortable doing so.

“When we heard that women were not learning how to negotiate, we read all the books and went to all these lectures and they were all so male-oriented,” she said. “They didn’t include any of the prep work to be done before the actual negotiation interview.”

Hould said the Start Smart workshop is different from other workshops on salary negotiation in that it is based on the value of the individual rather than learning a set of “tricks.”

“A lot of the things that are out there now talk about things for us to do that negate who we are and make it even harder to move ahead,” she said. “I think as women we need to move ahead as women and not change ourselves into little men.”

The Start Smart workshop is instead designed to give women both the skills and confidence they need to negotiate a job offer successfully, Huber said.

“It includes how to benchmark salaries based on what job and what location,” she said. “Attendees are also given lots of resources and chances to practice role-playing new skills.”

Hazlett said she was surprised by the fact that negotiating a benefits package is an acceptable thing to do.

“That was not something I was aware of,” she said. “I would not even known how to go about discussing that, and it would not have occurred to me that I even could.”

Huber and Hould said the program is very research-based and still undergoing continuous improvements.

“It is tracked and modified according to needs,” Huber said.

“We have surveys at the individual workshops and will send the participants a follow-up email in the next few months to see how the skills they learned have helped them,” Hould said.

Hould said she was training Huber to be able to give the workshop at USU again in the future.

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