“Even with a Master's in Accounting, I face the fact every day when I go to work that I'm not getting paid what I'm worth. I can't afford many things, including paying back my student loans because I've worked the past 10-1/2 years for a family-owned multi-million-dollar construction firm, making $12 to start and $16 an hour after 10 years. That's only a 40-cent raise per year.
I no longer have my medical benefits, because I can't afford my half, so my employer gets away with not even paying that benefit. I am too old to look for another job; I will retire at 70 in about seven years on only Social Security. Yes, I have the value of 10 years experience, but what good does that do me now? I'm nearly 63 years old, and no one is going to hire an aging, overweight, gray-haired woman!”
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Screwnomics says: You are not alone! A 2016 report from GlassDoor, which examines the gender gap in accounting in five countries, found it a fact in all five. The “unexplained” US gap between women and men is a whopping 30 percent difference. Here’s what GlassDoor says about the reasons for “explained” differences in accounting job placement (with boldface, ours):
WHAT’S THE MAIN CAUSE? The single biggest cause of the gender pay gap is occupation and industry sorting of men and women into jobs that pay differently throughout the economy. In the U.S., occupation and industry sorting explains 54 percent of the overall pay gap—by far the largest factor. For example, Census figures show women make up only 26 percent of highly paid chief executives but 71 percent of low-paid cashiers. Past research suggests this is due partly to social pressures that divert men and women into different college majors and career tracks, or to other gender norms such as women bearing disproportionate responsibility for child and elderly care, which pressures women into more flexible jobs with lower pay.
Others in the industry point to better prospects than usual right now. So don’t overlook the possibility of taking your ten years’ experience to another position. Even a small improvement plus benefits would make a difference to your retirement. The American Association of University Women (AAUW) is a great resource for learning how to negotiate a pay raise with benefits!