/ Asked by siobhan
Are companies required to pay women an equal salary to men? If I discover that my male counterparts are making more in the same role, is it worth bringing it up at my next salary negotiation or will that just make everyone uncomfortable and hurt my chances of a raise?
Answered by Susan, Hiring Expert at Praxair, Inc., on Monday, September 16, 2013
You ask an interesting question which is quite difficult to answer on a site such as Jobipedia.

First, I have to make some assumptions about your situation:

I assume you and the male counterpart you mention have the same educational background, number of years work experience with same/similar companies, and equal levels of responsibility as viewed by leadership (not as viewed by you), same certifications or special training, and same or equal behavioral attributes such as leadership potential, effective communications, ability to work with others effectively, producing results, etc. etc.  I also assume you are working in the exact same geographic area, managing same kinds of workload, with same kinds of customers and challenges.

All items above are usually the reason for pay differntials, but people often do not look deeper and may just consider Job Title or Level, when in fact companies always will pay someone with more overall "qualifications" more than a peer who also happens to hold the same job title.  Now, given the above, I'm sure there are instances in the world where "all things considered equal" there may be pay inequities. 

The other piece to this situation which makes it volatile is that "pay" is an extremely private and confidential subject. Employers are not required to discuss employee pay scales with other employees (I'm sure you would not want your pay discussed broadly with your peers).  Therefore, comparing yourself to another employee and reiterating what you believe to be his/her pay scale often is not seen in a favorable light.

I would suggest this approach:  Leave the other employee out of the discussion and ask your HR Manager to explain your personal pay scales.  Why you are paid at the level/scales you are, the company's compensation philosophy regarding pay levels, compa-ratios per years experience, etc. 

Educate yourself on corporate compensation practices before you head into what may be an embarassing situation for you, should you be making inaccurate assumptions or come in unprepared or uneducated about a very complex subject.
Answered by Stephanie, Hiring Expert at AT&T Inc., on Wednesday, January 15, 2014
Companies are, in fact, required to provide equal pay to male and female employees. In fact, President Obama passed groundbreaking equal pay legislation, entitled the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act when he entered office in January 2009. However, in reality, research shows that women only receive $0.77 for every dollar that men receive. The data is a bit brighter for STEM occupations where women are paid $0.92 on the dollar compared to men. With that said, it’s never professional for employees to share salary information with each other and for some companies, that is an offense that can lead to termination. If you believe you are not being paid fairly for your level of education, experience and the work you perform, definitely have that conversation with your supervisor. But focus on why you believe you deserve a pay raise due to your professional contributions rather than compare yourself to colleagues – male or female. If you believe you are a subject of discrimination, consult an attorney who can provide additional guidance.
Answered by Megan, Hiring Expert at Cardinal Health, on Wednesday, April 30, 2014
Yes! However, keep in mind that pay is very personal and based on a case by case basis. Your male counterparts may be making more based on more applicable experience, higher education, their own salary negotiations based on pay at past jobs, or because of slightly different/greater responsibilities. My best advice is when you have an opportunity to have another salary negotiation, focus on yourself. Be prepared to discuss the pay that you want and be sure to bring plenty of supporting evidence as to why you deserve the increase. I would most definitley avoid bringing up your male counterparts pay which would likely put your manager in defense mode and derail what could have been a constructive conversation.
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