The pay gap between women and men is improving while in some industries there is still work to do

Table 1: Full-time Adult Average Weekly Ordinary Time Earnings gender pay gap by industry, November 2017- November 2018

Table depicts gender pay gap over time by Industry

Data source: ABS (2019), Average Weekly Earnings, November 2018, cat. no. 6302.0, viewed 22 February 2019, <> Note: Based on Full-Time Adult Average Weekly Ordinary Time Earnings with November as the reference period. Industries are ranked from highest gender pay gap to lowest gender pay gap in May 2018.

Time to close the pay gap and get that promotion!

 3 Easy strategies BELOW to achieve this


My first corporate job was working in IT in the late 80s, I was 18 years old. I was female number 2, in a team of approximately 15 males. Within a year this company grew to over 60 staff, with the addition of two females. All the females were in administrative or customer service roles. I was picked to do a 6 month rotation in our office in  Silicon Valley when I was 19 years old to help with sales. Yeah, 19 and working in Silicon Valley, and in sales! I was responsible for organising us to attend a major IT conference in San Francisco. This was just 3.5 years after Windows 1.0 was released. Our computer screens were green screens. Now I am showing my age!  It was an exciting time and I don’t think anyone I worked with yet comprehended the boom about to occur. What I noticed at this conference, and during my 6 month rotation, was lots of male IT engineers who were  technically brilliant but no idea how to lead people. The lack of women working in the industry was significant and those who did, were largely in admin, marketing or low level HR roles. When I became a head hunter in Mining 22 years later the similarities were alarming. I completely understand that a key reason for this has been a lack of women pursuing roles in these fields. While the bigger problem I witnessed was female candidates I was putting forward were less paid, and often overlooked.

I also noticed this. When I asked women what their salary expectations were, they would answer with what they were currently earning. Men on the other hand would more often state what they expected which included on average a 10% increase. Ladies, can I say, we can learn from their skill in doing this.

Sheryl Sandberg, COO Facebook discussed this same phenomena in her book “Lean In”. Worth a read. If I put on my psychologist hat, I would explain this several different ways, but the simplest is that our wiring is just different to men when it comes to self-worth, career and self-belief. My dissertation illuminated this and I am always open to share my findings over a cuppa in James Street.

However in the mean time, there is a way I, you….we, can change this. The good news is a large piece of the change is completely within our control.   


3 Steps for Change 


Step 1: NOTICE   

While we don’t have control over other’s behaviour, we do over ours. However what can get in the way of us behaving how we feel we want to (ask for more money or a promotion) is our negative self-talk. Negative self-talk is an automatic response whenever we do something that takes us out of our comfort zone. It is our mind’s way of trying to protect us. For example: “What if they say no?”, “Will they expect 200% out of me instead of 150%”, “Do they think I am worthy? And do I want to find out!?”  I could keep going.  How many of you have been about to have that conversation with your boss and Ms Neggy shows up (Ms Neggy in the negative voice inside your head). Ms Neggy reinforces why not to ask for that raise or promotion so you do nothing. However while you are avoiding the conversation, someone else may be getting your pay rise or your promotion!

Over the next 24 hours write down every time Ms Neggy shows up and what she says. Something like this.


Then notice what you did as a result. Simply notice how Ms Neggy can run the show.

Now that you have noticed what is something positive that has happened today?  Tell yourself 3 reasons why that was positive. Our mind sometimes needs help to properly process the good stuff. Then what is something important you could do today, even if it is something small.

Step 2:  “DEFUSE”

Give Ms Neggy a voice. I always suggest a cartoon character as there is some great research to say this works. Mine is Homer Simpson. Imagine Homer’s voice now saying “What if they say no!….doh doh doh!”

Did you smile or laugh?  Most people do when I do this live at a workshop!  Try this technique with your inner negative voice. Who is your cartoon character? What do they sound like?

This technique is designed to help you notice how silly some of these thoughts are, to allow more positive and logical thoughts to take over. This enables us “to do” what is important for us.

Step 3: DO IT

If I channel Ms Sandberg…it is time to “Lean in!”.  It is time for you to move towards your values and what is important to you. The fear will follow you to that discussion but it doesn’t mean you don’t ask anyway.  “Don’t ask, you don’t get” (thanks Grandma Sykes for that gem). Remember the times when you did get out of your comfort zone and how good it felt!

Please let me know how you go 

More questions?

I am always happy to have a quick chat over the phone. 

Or if you have decided to make a Career Change and feel you need some help with how, what and where, I have created an affordable online program.

I hope this information has been of value. I believe most people desire to reach their potential. My passion is to help as many as I can achieve this, so more of us can have greater prosperity in our work and lives. If you share this belief and passion please spread the word and this post.


Margie Ireland
Leadership Coach | Psychologist