In my first coaching session with Ashley, a recent graduate, she confided in me that she didn’t feel truly valued in her current role and she knew she could be doing so much more, yet saw that a promotion was at least 1 year out. We talked through how she got the job, and why she believed she wasn’t valued. It became clear that she, like so many of us, was experiencing the Hiring Gap.
What is the Hiring Gap?
Simply put, Ashley knew if she worked hard and did a good job, she would be promoted. So she started in a role that was more administrative, with the idea that she could prove herself and work her way up quickly. After starting her job, she realized that many of the people one level up, were her age, and had the same experience. Now that she was in her role, it was so clear that she was just as capable (if not more so) than the men who were One LevelUp.
Ashley did exactly what most women do, and will be paying the price for at least another year unless she changes something. According to research by Hewlett Packard, men apply for a job when they meet only 60% of the qualifications, while women will likely not apply, unless they meet 100% of the qualifications.
Ashley had settled for a lower level job, and was making less money than she deserved. After talking through the data around the unique challenges that women face in their careers, she was motivated to do something. “We have to fix this, but how?”
How you can make a difference
My answer to Ashley, and to each and every woman graduating from college today is simple: The most important thing you can do to make a difference in the workplace is to close the wage gap, and the hiring gap, for yourself. Don’t allow yourself to be a statistic. Learn the rules, play the game and win big. When you raise the bar for yourself, you raise the salary bar for your employer, and most importantly pave the way for the women that follow you.