Top 5 Things Women Should Know About Their Salaries

Imagine you’re sitting in a room of your aunt’s best girlfriends and they’re all giving you career advice about money and pay.  That’s what its like to listen in on what the professional women of Fairygodboss have to say.  As a community of women helping women, we’ve condensed our member insights into a list of the most common remarks and advice they give about pay.


1. Raises are hard to come by.

Women who’ve worked at the same company for a long time talk about the fact they haven’t seen meaningful salary growth.  In a way, this isn’t surprising because we all know that wages have been stagnant, on average, since the 1970’s.  While we’re not necessarily advocating that you become a “job hopper”, keep in mind that when you enter a company, you may be anchored at your starting salary for far longer than you would expect.

  • I can tell you the ‘no raise’ warnings were correct.
  • NEGOTIATE your entrance salary and vacation!  You are stuck in pay scale grades and can only go up one grade at a time, which is not a big salary change.

2. Negotiate right at the beginning because that’s when its most likely to work.

Related to the idea that raises can be few and far between, many women say its important to negotiate at the point of a job offer.  We know its not the easiest thing to do, but negotiation doesn’t appear to get any easier over time.

  • If you have the experience and know you can give your all fight for the starting pay you deserve.
  • New hires get paid more than people whove been with the company for a longer period of time.

3. Women don’t think equal (or unequal) pay is a secret at their companies.

The pay gap is controversial and complicated because while the statistics show women are paid 82 cents for every $1 a man makes on average, this statistic does not account for experience, position, education, seniority or anything else.  Nevertheless, many women in our community are convinced their male counterparts are being paid more than they are.  Clearly this is pretty frustrating.  The good news is that some women are just as certain that men and women are being paid the same.

  • I don’t believe the pay scale is equal and men are making more in regards to salary. I handle the same if not more responsibilities then some others on my team and I know most are making a higher salary with less experience.
  •  In the 7 years that Ive been with this company, Ive received several promotions and felt that I was treated equally to my male and female peers with regards to base pay and bonus.

4. Reduced schedules mean clearly less pay but not always less responsibility.

  •  On reduced schedule- which works for me, thought I’ve heard does not work for many (ends up being full-time work for part-time pay).


5. Some women say they accept low or less-than-ideal pay because they like their colleagues, have work flexibility, or other benefits that make up for it.

While life is full of tradeoffs, we do hope that women are going into these “deals” with their eyes wide open.  Companies that are financially stretched should also take heart because this means that intangibles such as collegiality and culture can truly help retain talent that otherwise would leave.

  •  In the end, I will likely stay only because I do enjoy the flexibility of working remotely and I enjoy the people I work with.
  •  The pay is low, but in return you get great benefits, more vacation days than you can use and great coworkers.

We hope that this round-up of insights helps give other women some perspective about their own jobs and pay.


Have something to add about your own experience with pay at work?  Chime in anonymously at


About Georgene Huang

Georgene Huang is the co-founder of Fairygodboss, a company review site for women, by women.  At Fairygodboss, we believe it should be easier for women to get the scoop about companies and jobs from other women.  Our professional community reviews and crowdsources information so you can learn what women are paid, the hours they work, and whether they believe their company is fair.  We’re a place to discuss work-life balance, working motherhood and find women to help you, wherever you are in your career.


Ms. Career Girl

Ms. Career Girl was started in 2008 to help ambitious young professional women figure out who they are, what they want and how to get it.