You’re Black, you’re a woman, and you’re in tech —let that sink in. The odds were stacked against you, but you are here, and I am so very proud of you. Now, what can you do to insist on fair pay?
Pay is up close and personal to me. In my career, I was fortunate to have direct experience as a compensation and benefits practitioner and even more fortunate to have mentors and sponsors walk me through the benefits of different elements of pay including base pay, bonuses, stock awards, spot awards and deferred compensation, as well as other work-for-pay options.
I was also fortunate to have a varied career where I could practice my negotiation skills around compensation to help me speak up for the value I provide a company. I am also one of you — a Black woman in tech. At Micron, I am part of the team overseeing fair pay and proud of the work we have done to achieve it globally.
In honor of Black Women’s Equal Pay Day, I am giving back by sharing this practical advice on how to be appropriately compensated for the value you provide:
- Have a heart-to-heart talk with yourself regarding your feelings around compensation. If you don’t think you deserve what you’re currently getting, you run the risk of nobody else thinking and insisting that you deserve to be paid fairly.
- Do your research and know the standard level of pay for your role, for your level, for your organization and for your performance. We were trained to be grateful for a big fat paycheck. But this doesn’t mean that you should walk away from the opportunity to also ask for a FAIR paycheck, which might be fatter. (Repeat after me, FAT does NOT equal FAIR!)
- Be informed on all the compensation options available — and also be knowledgeable about how and when decisions are made so that you can plan accordingly.
- Be curious about the work you’re performing and map it to the value you’re providing for the company. What’s the delta between your performance and your value? How’s the company measuring up in general on ensuring fair compensation for the value provided? What can be done to shift the needle slightly toward the goal of meritocracy?
- If you don’t ask, you won’t get what you’re looking for. As women, especially as Black women, we often feel fortunate to have a well-paying job in tech, but this doesn’t mean we are being fairly compensated. I invite you to raise the bar and to unapologetically ask for the value you’re providing, a value equal to the value that your colleagues and peers add.
- Be curious about the thinking, speaking and acting around pay equity at your company. Seek input and guidance from your management team on how YOUR company can be better advocates for pay equity and how YOU can personally support that charter. Learn more about Micron's pay equity study.
- Recruit a mentor or sponsor to help you have difficult conversations around compensation, guiding you to be clear and direct but also collaborative and respectful.
- Build a supportive network around compensation and cheer each other on. It might also help to gamify progress through your professional network, as long as it’s discrete and respectful.
- Be patient and celebrate each small step forward. Rome wasn’t built in a day and any positive progress forward should be celebrated!
- Don’t stop with yourself. Take a stand for others as well, regardless of their color, gender or role. Be willing to sponsor and mentor others to pay it forward.
Pay equity is for EVERYONE every day — not just for Black women and not just on Black Women’s Equal Pay Day. So, think about what YOU will do about it so that we can make a bolder, stronger, more unified stance together. #letsallgetpaid #FairPay