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The challenge of closing the wage gap for Latina women

Latinas have been historically underpaid, with 2022 being no different. Here's how to determine if you might be underpaid, and what could be done about it.

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Today is Latina Equal Pay Day, the day that marks how much time it takes Latina women across the nation to be paid the same amount a White man does in a single year; the average Latina earning 49 cents for every dollar a White man does.

This year, the day has fallen on Dec. 8th, marking two years that Latina women need to work in order to match just the one their peers need.

LeAnn Chaparro is a Senior Recruiter at LinkedIn, and both as a Latina and a hiring manager has been on both ends of the equal pay issue. She recently spoke with AL DÍA to help give advice on how Latinas can get the fair and equal pay they deserve.

“There was a time in my career where I didn't notice… that I was coming in earlier [and] staying later. There was a time in my career where I can remember hiding the fact that I was a mom and hiding some of the daily struggles that I was having,” Chaparro explained.

“There was a time in my career where I remember being so grateful and thankful for a certain promotion, only to find out that my predecessor was paid more than me. It did take a lot of courage and a lot of research to bring that up, and to ask, to prove my salary to match what my predecessor was making.”

Knowledge is power

When arguing for equal pay, it is best to come prepared, Chaparro says. By gathering information relevant to your job, either one you are applying for or one you currently have, you can better argue for increasing your salary.

Looking online for similar titles in similar industries should give an estimate of how much to expect when applying for a job, giving a frame of reference for when discussing potential salary.

Hiring managers are another resource available to provide information about salary, responsibilities, and benefits of the job they are offering and can give details on information that might be absent from the job description.

If you already have a job and suspect that you may be underpaid, speaking about your salary with other employees is an effective way to determine if you are being paid less.

Once enough information has been gathered and you are able to argue that you are being underpaid, choosing the right time to make your case is important, like during a mid year or end of year review, or when you think you have the best chances of persuading your manager to make a change.

The negotiation process can be difficult, so Chaparro recommends two solutions: practicing the negotiation of your pay increase beforehand or searching for online resources that can teach you how to negotiate your salary, such as LinkedIn’s Salary Negotiation course.

Handling hiring managers

“It's important that we use direct language,” Chaparro explained. “From a recruiter perspective, I always appreciate when somebody comes to a call or an interview [and lets] me know what they want, what they need. That gives me something to work with.”

Asking questions about the salary range, the position’s benefits, and the roles and responsibilities is a direct way to get information about the position. Depending on previous research, this can give a straight answer to whether or not the position would underpay you.

Questions should focus on aspects of the job, though some hiring managers may be uncomfortable discussing numbers, or not know how to respond. Possible questions include: 

  • What is the salary range?
  • What are the roles and responsibilities? 
  • What is the compensation package? 
  • What are the additional benefits that come with the position? 

“What's really important there is that you are asking for both the salary range and overall compensation package. That will signal to the other person that you are interested to know a little bit more about the role beyond the salary.

On the other side, hiring managers can do much to help Latinas get equal pay.

Actionable measures include putting salary ranges on job postings and keeping transparency about what the job responsibilities and benefits are.

Other measures include analyzing the pay non-Latinos receive and making sure that Latinos are paid dollar-for-dollar as much as their peers, and reaching out to Human Resources, financial partners, and compensation partners to secure pay equity for Latinas.

Working together

The topic of Latinas being underpaid is not a new one. Many experts are seeking ways to close the wage gap and can be willing to educate you further on the subject and how to handle it.

Employee resource groups (ERGs), associations, community groups, and other organizations can connect you with these experts, but can also help you grow your professional network, get information and resources, and communicate with other Latinas in similar situations.

One avenue to do this is through LinkedIn, which provides connections to these organizations and these experts, alongside live virtual events that can be used to network with other professionals, mentors, and sponsors.

Being in connection with other Latinas in similar situations or those who have experience with handling being underpaid allows for the sharing of information and joint action, rather than simply approaching the wage gap alone.

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