Never Mind Minding Your Business: Discuss Salaries

Pay inequity disproportionately affects women and minorities. Reports have shown that Latinas make only 57 cents for every dollar earned by white, non-Hispanic men. In other words, Latinas must work nearly 23 months to earn what white men earn in 12 months. The pay, however, catches up every year, and for 2021, October 21st, Latina Equal Pay Day is observed.

Latina Equal Pay Day is a day dedicated to spreading awareness about the minority-gender gap. We sat down with Ruby Garcia, Leadership Development Consultant and Career Coach.

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As a career coach and program lead for our programs, how does this partnership align with your own company and personal brand?

I am an alumni of the Mujeres de HACE program. The program was instrumental in my own career development and taught me so much that I didn’t know that I was a first-generation corporate professional. HACE gave me words to put to my experiences, resources to help me advance and an amazing network of people. It really accelerated my own development. As the Principal and Founder of Ruby Garcia Coaching and Creator of the Woman Warrior Academy, I am committed to empowering the Latinx community, Latinas and women of color. I love being Latina and I love supporting other Latinas, first generation college graduates and first-generation corporate professionals in their journeys. I am super passionate about helping others (so they don’t have to learn the long, hard way like I did) and believe that by investing in ourselves, we can accelerate the process in achieving our personal and professional goals. We don’t know what we don’t know till someone shines a light and gives us perspective. Then we can make an empowered choice and do better.

Should I discuss my salary with my co-workers? If so, why? If not, why not?

First, I know money is a very sensitive and touchy subject. You might not come right out and ask your colleagues what their salary is but if there is confianza, it’s possible to have that conversation. Just know if you are asking, be prepared to share your salary information too. If none of us know how much we’re making, it’s easy for us to be underpaid. While we may not always directly ask what someone is making in their current role, what we can do is inquire what the salary expectations are for a role in that industry. You might ask something like, “What is the range for Product Management positions within your industry?” Another approach might be talking to a Mentor and Sponsor. You might share your own pay trajectory and ask whether it seems appropriate or not. Since they are senior, they might be able to give their perspective, and this will help you gather intel relevant to your current role. There definitely needs to be more organizational transparency when it comes to salary.

How does a person know when they are being paid fairly or unfairly? 

The first thing you can do is use resources like,, LinkedIn Salary Insights and Glassdoor’s Know Your Worth Tool to understand the market value of your role. Some possible signs of being paid unfairly can be not having regular performance reviews, the number of responsibilities you have has changed but your salary hasn’t, if you’ve never negotiated a salary, positions at your company that require less experience but pay more, you makes less than your colleagues but have the same or more experience and education, and/or you’re in a niche market that is in high demand. These are signals that it's worth spending some time researching and gathering data.

What should you do if your research makes you realize you are being underpaid?

Schedule a conversation with your manager to see if you can have a conversation to help you understand the difference because you are concerned about a pay disparity. If it turns out you are being paid less, make sure you request a salary correction, not a raise. Be prepared to prove your case as to why you should get a salary correction by showing the impact you are making in the organization. This isn’t about working harder, it’s about demonstrating the value you bring to the company.

In a scenario of a woman transitioning in her career and preparing for a promotion. She knows the position is paying way above her current salary, how does she negotiate at the salary range of the new role?

Again, part of this is knowing the market value of your role. Your promotional raise should not be based on your last salary, it should be based on the market value. During one of my promotions, I left between $10-15k on the table all because I had the mindset that I should just be grateful for the promotion. Sometimes these mindsets come from cultural and family narratives that we should just be grateful for what we get, that we need to be humble, and we assume that because we are doing better than out parents, that it should be enough. Sometimes we are the ones that limit ourselves. Never accept the first offer. Always negotiate. There is no price tag on your personal worth, but you are deserving of a competitive and fair salary for the impact and value you bring to an organization. Do your homework. Be prepared to quantify your achievements. Think beyond salary and think about total compensation and other perks too. Have a list of things (for yourself) you are willing to negotiate for – paid time off, a technology budget, a higher 401k contribution, remote work if you aren't doing yet. This biggest part of getting that raise is for you to believe you deserve it. Be confident and know you are worth it! You might even practice by yourself, or role play the conversation with a friend or mentor so you can get a feel for the conversation.

Should I know my company’s raise and budget cycles? Why is that important?

Most companies have a budget that they allocate towards raises every year, so it’s best to find out what that budget is and how much you could safely ask for. I also want to emphasize, anytime is a good time to ask for more money and be ready to demonstrate your value. Tip: Most fiscal years end in January so companies are usually starting to focus on their compensation packages for the upcoming year. Mark this in your calendar because this can be a great time to ask for a raise.

How critical is personal branding for someone who is just starting their career? 

Personal Branding is EVERYTHING! Without a strong personal brand people won’t ever know who you are, what you stand for and what you can deliver in your role. Personal branding can expand your opportunities and your network. If you’re job searching, most employers will look you up on social media. When it comes to developing your brand, be intentional/strategic about creating the narrative around your career story and what you stand for. Live your brand out. Be authentic. Be consistent. Be proud of who you are and what makes you unique.  

Getting to know you better and wishing we had more time with you, tell us something that is NOT on your LinkedIn profile.

I started taking Krav Maga (an Israeli self-defense and fighting system) a few months ago and I am completely obsessed! I love kickboxing and punching bags. My two sons and I take classes about 3-4 times a week. I just published my second book, Hispanic Stars Rising Vol II that came out two weeks ago. I just announced the Woman Warrior Academy for women who want to reclaim their power, build their confidence and develop their courage muscles so they can be the bravest and most powerful versions of themselves. I think Fear is the #1 dream killer and I try to practice showing up 1% more courageous every day. I am getting hypnotherapy certified this month because I want to help my clients move past their limiting beliefs in a more powerful and sustainable way. My dream is to walk to the Camino de Santiago in Spain.

Resources for learning/taking action on Latina Equal Pay Day:

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