I consider myself a fairly savvy salary negotiator; it’s a point of pride. But apparently, I may be undercutting myself without even knowing it. I just booted up the aptly named Gender Gap App, a game that has you guess whether a salary is the average listed for men or for women in a certain job category.
On top of being good at salary negotiation, I also fancy myself good at mindless cell phone games. You cannot beat my minesweeper score, I promise. But this little game got the better of me. I continually underestimated the average salary for each job category. Even after I saw the pattern, and tried to self-correct, I still thought that jobs paid less than they do.
This little game of utter frustration was released as part of Equal Pay Day. Last January, the Department of Labor launched an App Challenge that invited software developers to use publicly available labor data and other online resources to create applications educate users about the pay gap and to build tools to promote equal pay.
Today, the DOL announced the winners, which include apps that give you current wage data, offer negotiation tips and tricks, furnish information on the wage gap, and help users compare what they make to the national averages for each industry and occupation. The tools are meant to demystify pay data and help women get the information they need to negotiate starting pay, request a promotion or a raise, or consider switching fields.
After playing around with the winners of the Equal Pay App Challenge, it’s clear to me that knowing the dimensions of the playing field is a critical step toward making it level for everyone.