May 24, 2012 • In web :: Features
The art of negotiation
Tips and tools to negotiate fair compensation for your labour.
The first murmurings of the women’s movement may seem like eons ago, and many think that it quelled the issue of gender inequality in the workforce. In actual fact, there remains a deplorable amount of inequality in North America’s workforce. Statistics Canada’s Publication Women in Canada: A Gender-based Statistical Report indicates that a woman still earns approximately 71 cents for every dollar a man earns.
For women of colour, wages tend to be even lower, earning roughly $4,000 less than white women and $7,000 less than men of colour. While women of colour are more likely to be in a low-income situation than white women, these disparities tend to shift when women in these minorities are born in Canada. The largest disparity seems to exist for first generation immigrants, and it tends to lessen significantly for the second and third generations.
These statistics speak volumes about societal norms, namely the oppression that permeates divisions of labour. Job candidates who have mobility issues or belong to the LGBT community also face a larger degree of adversity if they work at, or apply to, a company that lacks even a basic level of equal opportunity employment.
Othering that takes place in the workforce, for example in the form of transphobia, can be extremely powerful. Through the lens of meritocracy, we’re left to believe employees are getting fair wages and treatment, when this is often not the case. In other words, we’re left to believe that employees receive fair wages and treatment based on qualifications and hard work.
While the facts can be overwhelming, there are tools that help shrink the gender inequality gap and ensure labour is exchanged for fair wages.
Before doing any research on the company or industry, determine your required salary, which should take into account living costs and lifestyle. Many Canadian cities have implemented living wage policies, which ensure that all people who work for a municipality, or its contractors, are paid wages that enable them to meet at least basic needs. Living Wage Hamilton is a website that calculates the minimum wage a citizen requires in order to get by in that area. This is a great way to determine how to get by on your salary, but these calculations often fail to take savings, retirement, large purchases or investments into account. Living wage calculations often calculate the bare minimum people need to get by.