How to Get Paid Your Worth on Equal Pay Day 2019

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As my clients know, I am a fierce--let's even call it aggressive--proponent of finding you a role where you are unapologetically paid your worth. 

Because fair pay is an incredibly important topic to me, I consider Equal Pay Day—April 2, 2019—to be a very big deal.

We 'celebrate' Equal Pay Day to signify how long into 2019 a woman needs to work to catch up to the earnings a man in the same role earned in 2018, due to systemic gender disparity in pay. This is a general average of working women.

It is impossible to fully appreciate the implications of this gender disparity without also considering the racial disparity. 

  • Black women don't reach Equal Pay Day until August 22nd. 

  • Native American women reach Equal Pay Day on September 23rd.

  • For Latina women, it's not until November 20th. 

This translates to between $500k and $1 million in potential earnings lost over the course of a woman's lifetime. 

What would you do with an extra $1 million?

How to Get Paid Your Worth on Equal Pay Day 2019

Getting paid your worth is all about understanding your value and advocating fiercely to be compensated for that value. Follow the steps below to understand your market value and set a market-based target salary.

Step 1: Put Words to It

Consider your current job, or a job you might hope to get within the next 12 months. How do you uniquely contribute to this position? How do your skills, experience, professional milestones, and achievements inform your ability to be a highly valuable asset for a company in a given position?

Spend 30 minutes writing the answers to the above questions.

Next, how does this translate to value? This could be quantified in terms of dollars, efficiency, risk avoided, opportunities available, labor hours reduced, improved satisfaction, etc. 

Market value or “worth” is defined by the American Association of University Women as the going rate for what “comparably qualified and comparably placed people in your field are worth.”

Do you know what doesn’t impact your market value?

  • Your current salary

  • The starting salary at your first job

  • The percent jump between your most recent salary and your next salary

Step 2: Put a Number on It

It’s time to do some research. Use websites like,, or other compensation survey data in your industry to understand how someone of your skills, accomplishments, and caliber is paid at market rate. These sites are the most objective, as they use employer-reported data and more accurately quantify salary v. benefits. can also be a useful site, but keep in mind that it may be less accurate.

For non-profits, review their organizational profile and IRS Form 990 on to understand how much they pay their top employees.

Let’s take a look at a couple examples of this using

I conducted a search of the title “Program Coordinator” for the non-profit sector in Washington, DC.

You can see the mid-point for this position—i.e., what the average non-profit pays—is just shy of $69k.

I also specified some example credentials, including a Masters Degree, over 5 years experience, no direct reports, and reporting to a manager. This put my target salary range just above the mid-point.

Data from

Data from

A note on the mid-point: The midpoint represents the salary for someone who is fully qualified for a position and requires minimal or no training to do the job well. 

Data from

Data from

Let’s take the same position, but consider someone with a Bachelors Degree and only 1-2 years of professional experience.

You’ll notice that the projected salary range shifts below the mid-point.

In each instance, this assumes the company pays at the mid-point, which is considered fair market rate.

If the company leads the market in terms of pay, you may be able to push the higher end of your target salary range.

If the company lags the market, the negotiation process may be more challenging.

So, your target salary is the salary to achieve through negotiations — it is your desired salary. Using tools like allow you to establish an reasonable, market- and data-based number to use in negotiations.

Keep in mind your value exercise from Step 1 — the greater your qualifications for a role, the more leverage you have to push beyond the mid-point and closer to the outer edges of the range. Negotiating from this strategy is best accomplished when you also know about the employer’s intended salary range for the position, and if they meet, lag, or lead the market.

Looking for more information on the nuances of salary negotiation? Check out my video series:

📌 How to Tell if You're Being Underpaid
📌 Five Must-Do Strategies for Landing a Promotion
📌 How to Avoid the Non-Committal Trap with Your Boss
📌 How to Deal with Pressure to Disclose Your Current Salary
📌 How to Negotiate Your Salary with Confidence <-- Including awkward email conversations about compensation!