Closing The Gap

Women are using the Great Resignation to negotiate raises or quit for better pay elsewhere

Thomas Barwick | Getty Images

Working women are seeing the current labor market, where employers are desperate to hire, as an opportunity to negotiate for more money. It could signal a shift in helping close the wage gap.

Some 85% of working women believe they deserve a pay increase, according to a new Glassdoor survey of more than 800 workers, and 63% believe the Great Resignation gives them leverage to negotiate.

Roughly 47 million Americans quit a job last year, with many citing the opportunity for better pay and benefits, as well as more stable and accommodating work, as major reasons why. In the summer of 2021, women who were quitting for better-paying jobs saw above-average wage growth, though small bumps did little to make up for the gender wage gap or the fact that women are disproportionately employed in low-wage work.

Any opportunity to adjust pay is an opportunity to examine the gender wage gap, which 41% of women surveyed by Glassdoor say is "a serious problem" at their companies.

Employees are discussing pay among themselves

Economists have long said that greater pay transparency could help close racial and gender wage gaps.

Women on average make about 82 cents for every $1 earned by a white non-Hispanic man, according to the National Women's Law Center, and it's even more stark for women of color: Black women make 62 cents, Native American women make 57 cents and Latina women make 54 cents for every dollar a white man earns.

Sharing salary information with colleagues can be a huge help, but discussing money continues to be taboo, says Alison Sullivan, a career trends expert with Glassdoor. This could discourage women from gathering internal pay data and making the case for a raise. Though 45% of women say they feel comfortable sharing their pay with a coworker, only 29% have actually done so.

And 28% of employees overall say their company discourages them from discussing their pay with coworkers.

Importantly, discussing pay with colleagues is considered legal and protected activity for most private-sector employees under the National Labor Relations Act.

Workers are demanding greater pay transparency from their employer

Persistent wage gaps have more to do with an employer's pay practices than how someone prepares their salary pitch. Federal and state laws aiming to promote pay equity have been around for decades, but company pay structures continue to create wage gaps for women and people of color that have barely budged in years.

Employees are becoming more vocal about pay equity in today's labor market, Sullivan says, but there are still big disparities between the transparency employees want and what they're getting. According to Glassdoor, 63% of U.S. employees prefer to work at a company that discloses pay information, but just 19% of employees say their company discloses pay ranges internally among all employees.

Companies may soon have to be more forthcoming about their pay practices anyway. A number of states and cities are passing legislation that requires employers to list salary ranges on job ads or disclose pay ranges to employees who ask for it.

As employers compete for talent, they're finding that simply saying they pay competitively doesn't mean anything unless they actually show the numbers to back it up.

"Especially in such a worker-focused job market, it's a huge advantage for companies who embrace pay transparency and encourage people to talk about pay," Sullivan says. "There's a hunger among jobseekers and employees in finding companies that value, embrace and encourage salary transparency."

Check out:

Here's where employers are required by law to share salary ranges when hiring

6 ways to figure out how much you should be getting paid—before negotiating your salary or a raise

Companies that refuse to be transparent about pay will be 'under fire,' says salary expert

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This 27-year-old former NYSE trader went from making $12,000 to $650,000 in 4 years
27-year-old former NYSE trader went from making $12,000 to $650,000 in 4 years