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Do you earn enough money? This company will let you decide your own salary

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Megan Murray
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This innovative company won’t approve its employees’ pay rises, giving them the power to decide what they get paid. Could this be the answer to closing the gender pay gap and eradicating discrimination in the workplace

The triangle of women, money and the workplace can be a toxic one. There are countless examples that show how women are often disadvantaged when it comes to being paid their worth. For starters, many women find it awkward to negotiate their pay, and research revealed that women are less likely to ask for raises because they’re worried about being perceived as aggressive or pushy. 

Then there’s the research that shows nearly three quarters of women haven’t had a pay review over the last 12 months and, of course, that small issue of the gender pay gap, which remains a serious problem and sees men on average earning 17.9% more than women in the UK. 

So with all this in mind, what would you say if you were given the opportunity to do away with any potentially ‘pushy’ (god forbid!) pleas for a payrise or the possibility of being sidelined thanks to inherent sexism? What if you could just choose your own salary based on what you genuinely thought you deserved? Wild, right?

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Well that’s exactly what 25-year-old Cecilia Manduca did, taking her salary from £30k a year to £37k after deciding she had earned it. 

Manduca works for GrantTree, a company that offers expertise in government funding, and spoke about her workplace’s “pay self-assessment process” on BBC Radio 5 Live’s Wake Up To Money programme

The innovative system allows staff to set their own salary and doesn’t require approval from any managers, meaning workers literally pay themselves what they want and review this whenever they feel is needed.

Instead of seeking approval, employees instead ask for advice, creating a “it takes a village” type mentality. Essentially, every time someone wants to change their pay, they ask to sit down with other members of the team to discuss whether they think they deserve it and if it feels fair to the company. 

Manduca says: “I felt a lot of doubts asking for that raise. It took a lot of talks with other people. I was aware that my job had changed. I was aware I was going way beyond my targets.

“I knew that from a rational point of view I deserved that higher rate. But I had a lot of self-doubt and I felt sort of greedy because there’s always a stigma – a sense you should feel happy with what you have.

“When I spoke with my colleagues internally and asked for advice, the advice they gave me was that yes I did deserve it and I was worth it.”

Could thinking like this help close the gender pay gap?

There are some guidelines in place, though. Staff are asked to do research on what similar roles are fetching in other companies and assess how much they’ve grown since they started their role. From there other members of staff will ask questions and give feedback to give an indication of whether they think it sounds like a fair sum.

Although right now this system is has been very rarely implemented in companies across the UK, it raises some interesting ideas. 

Although you might imagine that giving employees this kind of freedom would encourage them to award themselves excessive salaries, the results could actually have the reverse effect. After all, reports have shown that companies who allow their staff to take unlimited holidays or have flexible hours actually end up working more. 

As mentioned above, it could also challenge a range of prejudices that staff in a minority could feel has stopped them getting a pay rise or promotion previously. 

If every company let their staff decide their own salary, then you could argue that the risk of certain members of staff being sidelined through discrimination of any kind would be reduced.

So, will you be pitching this to your boss on Monday?

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Megan Murray

Megan Murray is a digital journalist for stylist.co.uk, who enjoys writing about London happenings, beautiful places, delicious morsels and generally spreading sparkle wherever she can.

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