I Found Out I Was Being Underpaid and Nobody Cared

Over and over again, I hear other women say they get f*cked over because of pay. So, I want to share my story to bring to light unjust situations and give underrepresented women a voice.

You always have a choice and you don’t need to accept poor treatment or poor pay.

Too often, discrimination goes unchallenged as most people don’t understand their rights and what they can do about it.

Two years ago, in 2017, I started a career in tech. Today, I work for a large analytics company with over 14,000 people. This is my story about how I found out I was paid less than my male coworker, and nobody cared.

How I discovered I was underpaid

I originally started my role at the same time as another guy. We went through the same conversion course and had the same experience.

So, I was pretty surprised and shocked when a coworker told me I was paid around £2k less.

I went to my manager to address the situation and ask how I could get on the same salary - I asked, what did I need to do to receive the same wages?

Not only did he not provide a way to resolve the issue, but he essentially informed me it was impossible and I could never be on the same salary as my male colleague because of how the salary structuring worked.

After some maths, I worked it out it would have taken me 15 years to reach the same salary level!

I was outraged, but I was only six months into the role and wanted to get a year under my belt.

So, I stuck it out for another two months before I finally left.

Getting an outside perspective

It wasn’t until another woman said to me, “there are so many other jobs if you’re not learning anything, why are you still there?” that I finally realised I could leave.Sometimes it takes someone who understands your situation to change your perspective and empower you to feel like you can leave.

At my previous job, I was bullied by my boss and was really struggling. I’d come home crying. It was horrible. I wasn’t old enough to deal with it all and had a lot of responsibility.

At the time, I needed to speak to someone and had no idea who to talk to.

I went to Skills Development Scotland, and they were apprehensive about giving me an appointment because I was university educated and they’re under-resourced.

Again it was a female person who helped me to see that the situation was bullying and I needed to get out of that space. She helped me feel empowered by saying I was too valuable to be worrying about some asshole boss.

Reflecting back on the situation

At your first job, you want to go with the flow and you don’t always notice these red flags.

For me, I’m like ‘code is code’ and I can code anywhere.Instead, it's more important that I work at a company that encourages my creativity and treats me with respect. A company that creates a culture where I can grow.

If I say something at interview and they rule me out for that, that’s an automatic fail. Women need to know that we can be choosy as it’s in the company’s interest to have us.

Younger women are so easily abused as they don’t know and are so naive. It’s not until you speak with someone more senior that you can get perspective on your situation and what you need to do to change it. 

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Valla is on a mission to make legal support affordable for everyone. Injustice happens every day in the UK and the truth is, most people can't afford to do anything about it.

We want to change that, starting with unfair treatment at work. Even a simple tribunal case can cost £6,000 or more in solicitor's fees, which most people can't afford. Instead, more and more people are representing themselves at employment tribunal and need help. Our tool helps collect your evidence, create the documents you need and know what the next step is at tribunal.

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