The Pay Gap is Real – And What You Should Do About It

By: Lauren E. Creamer, Senior CO-OP + CAREER Advisor

By now you’ve heard about the “Gender Pay Gap” – it’s been all over the news these last few months. I don’t see it going away anytime soon, either. But just to catch everyone up, let’s define the gap. According to the American Association for University Women (AAUW), “the gender pay gap is the difference between what men and women are typically paid”. Research shows that this difference exists across all demographics, workplaces, and education levels.

Pay Gap Statistics

In 2016 women in the United States were paid 80% of what men made. In Massachusetts, we were right on par with the national average clocking in at 80-84%. If you break it down for Boston, specifically, women were making 87.1% of men’s earnings, and women made 94.1% in Somerville/Cambridge.

You might be thinking… the numbers aren’t so bad here! But look at it like this: The National Women’s Law Center estimated that a single woman in Massachusetts, in a 40-year career, would lose $416,720 when compared to a white man. That is too much money to leave on the table.

The Breakdown

If you take into account racial/ethnic groups, the numbers are even more alarming. Black women made 63 cents on the dollar, and Latina women made a staggering 54 cents for every dollar earned by a white man. Asian women made slightly more than the national average at 87%, but the gap is still there.

If you look at the data from the National Women’s Law Center again, native American women in Massachusetts would lose just shy of $1,000,000, black women over $1,000,000, and Latina women would lose more than 1.3 million. Women of color are also less likely to have access to things like paid sick and family leave and flexible work schedules, all of which compound the systemic economic hurdles they face.

Factors that Contribute to the Gap

In April of 2016, the Democratic staff of the congressional Joint Economic Committee published a report highlighting the gender pay gap and the ramifications it has on the American economy. They outlined eight separate factors that play into the gap:

  • Women are more likely than men to interrupt their careers to care for children
  • Working mothers often pay a “mommy penalty” (when compared to women who don’t have children)
  • Women are more likely than men to be primary caregivers of other family members (aside from children)
  • Women who are forced to work part-time earn less (to balance family demands)
  • Women often work in occupations that pay less
  • Women are underrepresented in positions of leadership
  • Some women still do not receive equal pay for equal work (when all other factors are considered)

The final factor is perhaps the most troubling:

“After taking into account differences in observable factors such as education, field of study, occupation and experience, multiple studies have estimated that there is an unaccounted for gap between women’s and men’s average earnings of 5 to 9 percent. In other words, as much as 40 percent of the overall gender pay gap cannot be explained by factors that would affect earnings and may be due to discrimination”.

So, what can we do? What can you do?

On a legislative level, you can reach out to your elected officials and demand their support for pay equity. On an individual level, you can arm yourself with a negotiation education. You must remember: it is in your power to tip the scales. Always, always negotiate.

Steps to Negotiate

Salary.com found that 84% of employers expect prospective employees to negotiate salary during the interview stage. Yet only 30% of women bother to negotiate at all, while 46% of men negotiate, according to Forbes. There are many reasons why people choose not to negotiate: fear of conflict, feeling “under-qualified”, simply not realizing there is extra money available, and feeling gratitude for “just getting in the door”, to name a few.

In 2015 the AAUW joined forces with the City of Boston to train and empower 85,000 women by 2021 to close the gender pay gap. Dozens of free salary negotiation workshops are available every year across the city. The core tenants of their program are: knowing your value, benchmarking salary and benefits, knowing your strategy, and PRACTICING! The unknown has the potential to be scary – but with practice, the unknown becomes familiar and easier to navigate. Just like you would do a mock interview to prepare for a real interview, practicing the negotiation conversation can be a phenomenal tactic for success.

And, when in doubt, visit your CO-OP + CAREER Advisor for guidance and coaching. We are always happy to help!

Want to learn more about pay equity and the gender pay gap? Check out these great resources:

AAUW: https://www.aauw.org/research/the-simple-truth-about-the-gender-pay-gap/

Institute for Women’s Policy Research: https://iwpr.org/issue/employment-education-economic-change/pay-equity-discrimination/

Pew Research Center: http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2016/07/01/racial-gender-wage-gaps-persist-in-u-s-despite-some-progress/

Joint Economic Committee: https://www.jec.senate.gov/public/_cache/files/0779dc2f-4a4e-4386-b847-9ae919735acc/gender-pay-inequality—-us-congress-joint-economic-committee.pdf

Sources:

https://www.aauw.org/research/the-simple-truth-about-the-gender-pay-gap/

https://www.aauw.org/resource/gender-pay-gap-by-state-and-congressional-district/

https://www.aauw.org/aauw_check/pdf_download/show_pdf.php?file=Gender_Pay_Gap_Massachusetts

https://nwlc.org/resources/the-lifetime-wage-gap-state-by-state/

https://iwpr.org/issue/employment-education-economic-change/pay-equity-discrimination/

http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2016/07/01/racial-gender-wage-gaps-persist-in-u-s-despite-some-progress/

https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/no-the-gender-pay-gap-isnt-a-myth-and-heres-why_us_5703cb8de4b0a06d5806e03f

https://www.salary.com/salary-negotiation-separating-fact-from-fiction/

https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbescoachescouncil/2017/07/13/why-dont-more-women-negotiate/#2479baa5e769

LGBTQ+ Friendly Employers and How to Find Them

There are some helpful lists out there of LGBTQ+ Friendly Employers. But what do you do if you are interested in working at a relatively new or small company that may not show up on those lists? Luckily there are actions you can take to assess just how friendly this company is to LGBTQ+ employees and they are all part of the regular job search: Do your research and ask questions.

When researching your targeted companies, be sure to look at how a company portrays themselves. Is there evidence that they value diversity and inclusion in the following?

  • Mission statement/overall profile
  • Top management: any minorities and women? Check out Hoovers the Resources for Co-ops section of our website.
  • Charities they support
  • Website and social media (for proof that the company values diversity in its employees, their customers and vendor partners)

Once you’ve researched the what the company says about itself, check outside sources. What is their recent history (are they walking the walk?) and how have they been rated?

The Company’s Employee Policies and Training can tell you a lot. Check for clues in their:

  •  Job postings, website or promotional materials – do they include statements about being an Equal Opportunity Employer?
  • Zero tolerance policies for discrimination, harassment and retaliation in the employee handbook?
  • Ask about training opportunities for employees and managers on diversity issues.

Do they have any LGBTQ+ Friendly Benefits?

  • Healthcare coverage for same sex spouses and domestic partners
  • Paid family leave (maternity, paternity, adoption) allowed for domestic partners as well as children of a domestic partners, regardless of biological or adoptive status
  • COBRA-equivalent benefits for domestic partners
  • Bereavement leave for death of a partner or their immediate family.

How about Employee Resource Groups?

Some companies have affinity or resources groups for LGBTQ+ employees. These groups provide opportunities to network and discuss challenges at work and strategies to overcome them. For the company, these groups help lower turnover and increase retention. Organizations may also have a diversity and inclusion office, diversity council or working group focused on employee diversity that includes LGBTQ diversity as part of its mission.

During the recruiting process however, emphasize qualifications

Focus on what makes you a well-qualified candidate for the position: skills, experience, education and abilities. An individual should never have to divulge their gender identity or sexual orientation. If a person decides to come out it should be on their own terms. Unfortunately, protections are not universal, and disclosure can open one up to discrimination. The best approach is to ask general questions re: benefits and diversity initiatives and compare that with your research.

Lastly, if you do get an offer from a company, but find that you are not comfortable working for them after all, it is okay to politely turn down an offer. And all that research was not for nothing, you know more about who you want to work for and who you don’t.

For more information, check our LGBTQ+ resources page for students: https://wit.edu/sites/default/files/coopscareers/LGBTQ%20Student%20Resources.pdf

Research strategies and questions provided by Fast Company: Six Steps for Finding LGBT-Friendly Companies

Event Recap: How to Work a Room

By: Abbey Pober & Kristen Eckman

Last night we hosted 38 students and 10 employer and alumni representatives from 6 companies at our first How to Work a Room event. Jean Papalia, Principle of A+ Etiquette and Director of Tufts Career Center, began the night with an interactive presentation on professionalism and networking “do’s and don’ts”.  Students, alumni, employers, and staff were prompted during the engaging presentation to implement the new strategies together before networking began.

In the second hour, attendees practiced their new skills while learning from each other in a realistic setting. The goal of the night was to increase competencies and confidence in networking situations including how to work a room, how to enter conversations, and how to gracefully exit conversations.

Students, if you made a meaningful connection with any of the employers who attended, here are some tips for what to do next:

  • Sending a thank you email to the employers with whom you spoke. Find our guide to thank you notes here. Find all of our resources here.
  • Stay connected with social media: find the company or even the person you spoke with on LinkedIn or Twitter. Follow their feeds to stay up to date on new openings and other news!

Thank you to the Massachusetts Building Congress 20|30 Club and Alumni Relations for partnering with us to make this event a success. We look forward to future events connecting Wentworth students with alumni and employers.

The spring CO-OP + CAREER Fair is our upcoming event, being held on Tuesday, March 20, 2018 from 3:00pm – 6:00pm. A list of employers attending can be found on The Fairs App, check back often for updates to employer information and new employer registrations.

Meetings: They Can Make or Break You

By: Robbin Beauchamp

As a student, you have probably attended many meetings, especially if you have participated in group projects.  When you are working at a co-op, there is a likely chance that you will participate in many meetings with staff, customers or both.  Knowing how to have a positive impact in a meeting will help your career as a student as well as a post-graduation professional.

GOALS – Meetings are supposed to accomplish a few things, specifically:

Share ideas, facts, figures, drawings

Brainstorm ways to solve a problem

Assign and/or complete tasks as part of a project or plan

Create a strategy and timeline for a project

Introduce new staff

Teach new skills or provide information to meeting participants

EXPECTATIONS – Meetings should have an agenda and be led by one or two people.  As a participant, you have specific duties that are usually never communicated explicitly.  They are:

Be punctual

Be prepared to participate.  Read the agenda before the meeting, if it has been made available.  Read any materials that will be discussed in the meeting

Turn off your cell phone and leave it face down on the table

 

W.A.I.T.  Ask yourself “Why Am I Talking”?  – There is usually a lot of discussion during a meeting and you may want to have your voice heard.  So WAIT!

Are you making meaningful contributions to the conversation?

Are you speaking to complain?  To brag?  If the answer is “yes” to either, then don’t speak at all.

Are you moving the conversation forward?

Is your comment applicable to most people at the meeting?

Think about what you are going to say before you say it.  What is your personal agenda?  Why are you sharing your thoughts?

Refrain from speaking if you are regurgitating something that was already said.  If you can provide further information to show the merit of a discussion point, do so.

Be clear.  Be concise.  Be strategic.  Don’t speak just for the sake of speaking.

Don’t mumble, speak clearly so everyone can hear you.

MOVING FORWARD – Determine if there are deliverables that you are responsible to produce before the next meeting.  If there are, be sure to share them with the participants before you next meet.

Following these suggestions will help you to become a valuable member of any team and will reduce the amount of time you and your peers spend at meetings.

 

 

Mock Interview Day 2017

By: Chawney Weis & Abbey Pober

Our annual Mock Interview Day was held on Tuesday, November 7th from 3:00pm – 6:00pm in Watson Auditorium. The day consisted of four rounds of 45 minute interviews conducted by 57 employer volunteers from multiple companies across industries. In total, 128 students participated in 216 interviews, providing two practice interviews on average per student. Many of the employers will be inviting students back for formal interviews.

If you are a student who attended Mock Interview Day last week your next steps should be to follow up with employers by:

-Sending a thank you email to the employers with whom you spoke. Find our guide to thank you notes here.
-If a recruiter gave you specific instructions, be sure to follow through on those items and then follow up with the recruiter.
-Unable to send a thank-you note for lack of contact information? Stay connected with social media: find the company or even the person you spoke with on LinkedIn or Twitter. Follow their feeds to stay up to date with new openings and other news!

If you were unable to attend Mock Interview Day, be on the lookout for future opportunities to engage with employers and don’t miss the spring CO-OP + CAREER Fair on March 20th, 2018. Check The Fairs App as we get closer to the Spring Fair for updates on employers attending.

Employers, invitations for the spring CO-OP + CAREER Fair on March 20th will be sent out in the new year.

Thank you to all students and employers who joined on November 7th to conduct practice interviews. We look forward to seeing everyone in the spring!

Personal Branding

 By: Robbin Beauchamp

Personal Branding

When you think about your favorite company, what pops into your head?  What words come to mind when you hear “Amazon”?  “Fitbit”?  “Starbucks”? “Uber”?  What words do you associate with “Usher”?  “Kanye West”? “Eddie Redmayne”? “Emilia Clarke”?

Those words you automatically think are the brands that these companies and/or people have created.  It is not an accident that you think “Amazon – get me my stuff quick”.  Or “Uber – convenient” or “Kanye West – controversial”.  These are the stories that they want told.  What words do you want to describe you?  How do you build your personal brand?

What is Personal Branding?

“Personal Branding is the practice of people marketing themselves and their careers as brands.” (Source: Wikipedia).  You are defining the terms by which others view you from a digital and personal perspective. Your personal brand is the skills and causes you want people to remember you for, and how you wish to set yourself apart from your peers. 

Why do you want a personal brand?  You probably already have one and don’t realize it.  What were you known as in high school?  Class clown?  Jock?  Nerd? Mr./Ms. Popular? You get to own the direction of your future by controlling your own unique story while using authentic language.  A personal brand will help you identify how you can solve employers “problems” and will easily connect with mentors/desired employers while identifying the work you want to be doing.

How do you identify your personal brand?  Create a vision for what your future looks like by answering these questions:

• Who are you?
• How did you get here?
• What are you naturally good at?
• What do you enjoy doing?
• What makes you passionate about what you do?
• What do you want to be known for?

Once you have jotted down some answers (and they can be short and quick), start thinking about a “headline” for yourself.  Review profiles on LinkedIn to give yourself some ideas.  Here are some examples:

• Hack-a-thon Enthusiast and Aspiring Mechanical Engineer
• Computer Scientist focused on making the world a more connected place
• Photographer • Model Maker Emerging Product Designer
• Collaborator | Innovator | Strategist | Educator | Mentor
• Talent Acquisition | Recruitment Advertising | Career Advising
• Leadership and development specialist with an affinity for issues of diversity
• Collaborative Organization Leader

Notice that these are not job titles, but adjectives that describe who they are or what they can do for an organization.

Once you have decided what your personal brand may be, how do you market it?  Go to networking events or participate in workshops or webinars. Start participating in blogs by commenting on them (in a positive way, of course) or write your own. Use the language you define yourself with on your social media platforms:

• Facebook
• Twitter
• LinkedIn
• Instagram
• Snapchat
• YouTube

Be mindful of what you write.  If you are critical or disagree with someone, do it respectfully and use well-vetted research to prove your point.  Don’t just forward memes or other’s messages.  Be original and thoughtful.  Understand that nothing on the internet is private, even if you’ve set your settings that way.  Employers can be savvy and have resources to uncover your profiles and some may do this before even giving you a call.

Your personal brand will change as you grow in your profession.  You will gain skills and experiences that you will want to incorporate into your brand. Keep in mind what you want to be known for and think about who you admire and why.  What is the brand of people you follow?  What do you admire about them?  Are their pieces of their brand that you would like to incorporate now or in the future into your own brand?

Your personal brand makes it easier for employers to understand why they want to hire you and for people to want to follow you. Be authentic.  Know who you are and what you stand for to ensure you will have a fit into the organization who does recruit you.  Consider reading any of Brené Brown’s books or short YouTube videos featuring her talks. She writes about authenticity and vulnerability.  Once you understand who you are and what you what you want to be known for, your personal brand will be established.

The Benefits of Co-op Institute

By: Ria Kalinowski

It’s fall of your junior year at Wentworth and what’s looming over your head? Co-op search. You have no idea how to get started and you’re already busy with classes. Instead of waiting until the last minute and scrambling to throw together a resume and submit applications, join Co-op Institute! Co-op Institute is a six-week course that meets for 50 minutes once a week and provides students with support for all aspects of the co-op search.

Weekly Topics

Resumes
Cover Letters
Networking
Job Search
Interviewing
Co-op Insights

Tangible Takeaways

Approved resume
Access to search for co-ops on WITworks
Draft of a cover letter
Beginnings of a LinkedIn profile
Relevant handouts and videos
Professional padfolio for those who complete the course

Your Co-op + Career Advisor will teach you how to write a resume and review one you’ve made. You will meet with them one-on-one to get your resume approved and ask any specific questions you may have. If you are searching in a certain geographical area or for a specific type of co-op, they can give you resources or suggestions for targeting your search. In class, your advisor will discuss how and when to write a cover letter as well as the benefits of using LinkedIn.

 

What You Will Learn

Your Co-op + Career Advisor will explain the co-op process and what paperwork you will need to complete to get credit for and then pass your co-op. He or she will show you how to use WITworks to upload documents and search for co-op positions. In class, you will examine job postings and discuss how to tailor your application materials to each position. Networking techniques will be reviewed and you will learn what to do at a career fair or other employer events. You will get an overview of different types of interviews as well as how to be successful before, during, and after an interview. During the last week, you will also get co-op tips either from an employer or from Wentworth students who have been on co-op before. This is a great opportunity to network with an employer or ask about other students’ first-hand experiences.

 

Practical Experience

Craft and practice an elevator pitch
Practice answering interview questions using the PAR/STAR method
Use class time to search for jobs using WITworks and other job search engines
Get an introduction to LinkedIn and explore best networking practices

 

Final Words

Co-op Institute is the perfect spring board for your co-op search. You will begin to build a relationship with your Co-op + Career Advisor or, if your class is taught by a different Co-op + Career Advisor, you will become familiar with someone in the Co-ops + Careers Department. You will be the first to know about upcoming employer events and get quick access to search for co-op positions on WITworks. All your questions about the co-op process will be answered and you will gain a better understanding of what it takes to be successful during your co-op and even a full-time job search!

 

The benefits of volunteering and extracurricular activities

By: Chawney Weis

“It’s not about what you know, it’s about WHO you know.” But how do you get to know the right people? And how do you convince them that you’re the right person for the job?

You could possibly meet a connection in your Uber-pool, a coffee shop on the T or at a family/friend gathering; but volunteer work is one of the quickest ways to meet people and prove your knowledge and work ethic. Whether you choose to volunteer through an unpaid summer internship (in high school or college) or you opt to volunteer your time a couple nights or evenings each month, you will have the opportunity to build relationships with people who can potentially help you out, or at least provide you a good reference, during your co-op and/or job search. Similarly, extracurricular activities including sports, clubs, networking groups, volunteer activities, travel, etc., allow you to network and meet people while demonstrating your strengths, skill set, and how you work with others on a team and in different environments.

While both volunteer work and extracurricular activities allow you to make connections and prove your abilities, you are also building your resume in doing so. Choosing to spend your free-time doing something purposeful implies that you have interests in something beyond your school work; you like to seek challenges and learn about a variety of fields and lines of work. Employers appreciate seeing that an applicant is involved in their community and well-rounded in the activities they choose to participate in. Employers regularly request to speak specifically with students in different clubs and organizations. They want to see leadership positions and skills on your resumes as well as campus and community involvement. The projects you work on and the interactions you have will help you develop transferable skills that you will use in the classroom and in any job/work setting.

So, when you attend the Involvement Fair on the front lawn on September 7, 2017, consider what you can learn and how being involved (both on and off campus) can help you land your next co-op or job after graduation. If you are spending your summer off at home, consider volunteering part-time or finding other activities you can be involved in. Remember that your CO-OP + CAREER Advisor can assist in pulling transferable skills from any of these experiences to boost your resume and present your qualifications in your cover letters.

 

So, you want to go to graduate school…

By: Lauren Creamer

More and more students these days are telling me they want to go to graduate school. And they’re saying it earlier on in their collegiate careers. Before you jump on the grad school bandwagon, it’s important to a) ask yourself some critical questions, and b) have a plan of action. It’s a lot of work, but well worth it, if you know where you want to go next. Use the guide below to get started. And, as always, reach out to you CO-OP + CAREER Advisor for help!

Questions to Ask BEFORE You Begin:
• What do you want to go to grad school for? Master’s? PhD?
• Do you want to go into industry after OR do you want to teach?
• Why do you want to go to graduate school at all?
• Do you want to go immediately? Or work for a few years?
• How long do you want to be in school? One year? Two years? Five+ years?
• Where do you want to be? Does it matter?
• What schools offer your desired program(s) of study in your preferred location?

Action Steps to Take:
• Make a list of those schools, including program directors/coordinators and contact info.
• Make an outreach plan and conduct outreach – ask thoughtful questions, show interest.
• Rank programs. Know their requirements. Work backwards from their deadlines.
• Prepare for and take the GRE. (Or whatever other standardized test the program(s) require).
• Connect with faculty mentors to get their advice on selecting schools and the application process. (They once went through the same process!).
• Connect with your CO-OP + CAREER Advisor re: logistics for applying and writing your personal statement. (This is often more work than you might think!).
• Do you need to submit a skill-based resume or a CV? Don’t know the difference? See your CO-OP + CAREER Advisor!
• Begin applications and submit materials by deadlines.
• Prepare for program interviews. (This is a great time to loop back around with your faculty mentor).
• Review offers and accept at the program which is the best fit for you!
• OR defer acceptance until you are ready. (You never know, plans could change!).

20 Tips for Networking and Navigating a Conference

By: Lauren Creamer

Conferences can be intimidating – whether you’ve been to them in the past or not. Here are some fool proof tips for conference newbies and veterans alike.

Know your audience. What type of conference is it? Who will be there? Professionals? Peers? Students?

Make a hit list. Who do you want to connect with? Note any presenters or attendees that you really want to connect with and make them a priority.

Bring business cards (and have a resume waiting in the wings). It is not always appropriate to go doling out your resume to everyone you meet – but business cards are universally welcome in a conference setting. Don’t have any? Try Vista Print – you can order 250 for the price of shipping. Pick a clean, minimalist design and get printing. BUT, if someone asks for your resume, be prepared to share a hard copy or send it via email.

Don’t carry anything in your hands (if you need to have anything with you, it should be in a bag). If you’re loaded with stuff it might be awkward to shake hands or converse with people. It may also make you seem closed off or busy.

Focus on the other person. This isn’t about you. It’s about them. So make the other person feel as if you’re genuinely interested (and you should be!). Ask them questions, let the conversation flow.

Be yourself! You’re trying to build relationships with people at organizations that make sense for you. It’s important to be authentic – you want to make in roads at places that are a good fit.

Follow-up. Follow-up. Follow-up. Connect with presenters and attendees alike on LinkedIn. Follow them on Twitter. Send a “thank you for chatting” email post-conference.

At a break point or have some down time? Don’t take out your phone and surf the web! Interact. If everyone was sitting on their phones the whole time, no one would make connections.

See someone hanging out alone? Go over and say hi. If you’re in a group and you see someone alone, ask them to join. Either way, you’re making someone feel included and welcome.

Go to the pre-prescribed social activities: fun run, city outing, etc. This is a no-brainer! Structured fun = easy networking opportunity.

Making eye contact and smiling is always a good move. It makes you seem approachable and welcoming. Who doesn’t want to know someone who is approachable and welcoming?

Does the conference have an app? Can you talk to other attendees on it? Use it. You may be able to make connections through the app and then meet-up in-person, removing some of the anxiety. Same goes for a Twitter hashtag – chat with people through this, follow them, and then meet in-person.

Dress for the occasion. Ask around to see what the conference vibe is – sometimes it’s OK to wear shorts and a Hawaiian shirt. Most of the time it’s not. Do your homework and dress the part.

Practice your handshake. No dead-fish hands! No vice grips! Nice and firm does the trick.

Went alone? Find a conference buddy and tag team. You can play off each other when networking and it may ease your anxiety.

If you have the time to prepare, submit a presentation/talk/poster – people will come to you!

Take breaks to rest and re-energize. You know yourself best. Need a 2 PM nap? Take it. Need to have some alone time before a night on the town? Do it.

PACK SNACKS. I cannot stress this enough. Being hangry at a conference is the absolute worst.

Wear comfortable shoes (but still dressy). You end up standing and walking more than you think you will, so wearing the right shoes is critical.

Relax. Take a deep breath. And go for it. What do you have to lose? If you don’t make any connections, you’re right back where you started. But I guarantee you, if you utilize these tips, you will do some awesome networking.