- Negotiating for a pay rise (especially whilst on maternity leave)
- Practical tips to communicate your value to your employer
- How to avoid the part-time pay penalty as a parent
- How to ensure you're not impacted by the pension pay gap
- How to increase your visibility at work
Show notes: Resources that came up in the conversation between Verena and Tobi:
The Squiggly Careers Podcast - a favourite of Tobi's
- Four Thousand Weeks by Oliver Burkeman - a book that helped shaped Verena's perspective on living more in the moment
- Big Careers, Small Children Episode 80 – How to Influence Others to Say Yes, Why You Have More Power Than You Think & Learning How to Reframe Rejection - Professor Vanessa Bohns shares her tips for influencing others to say yes, especially when it comes to workplace requests.
The transcript below has been lightly edited for clarity - just a few ums and ahs removed - but is otherwise presented verbatim in order to accurately represent the conversation in the audio podcast.
00:00:00:02 - 00:00:34:23
You should always be thinking that you need to be fairly compensated for the value that you are bringing. And so therefore, if there is a discrepancy in the value that you are bringing to the table in the way that you are being compensated, it is a question about parity and it's a question about fairness, really. So sometimes if you detract yourself as an individual from the equation and actually think about it as the value, and actually when you're going on your career journey, document the value that you're bringing, document those achievements and document those results, it can be a little bit easier.
00:00:38:04 - 00:01:33:24
Welcome to the Big Careers, Small Children podcast. My name is Verena Hefti and I believe that no one should have to choose between becoming a CEO and enjoying their young children. For far too long, brilliant people have found themselves stuck on the career ladder when they have children, and that leads to gender inequality and the same stale, mostly male, middle-class people leading our organizations. We must change this, and I hope that many of you listening to this podcast will progress to the most senior leadership roles possible where you make decisions that make our world a better place. Thank you for listening. Beyond the podcast, I am the CEO and founder of the social enterprise Leaders Plus. You can find out all about our work on the website and the best way to be kept in touch with things is the newsletter on leadersplus.org/newsletter.
00:01:37:01 - 00:02:00:01
I wanted to let you know that we are changing the date when we release the podcast. So, from now on we're going to change the release date to Thursdays, which is mainly to make it easier for my team to work on it, as many of them don't work on a Monday, so let me know if you have any questions or comments about that, but we're going to try that.
00:02:00:01 - 00:02:26:01
Today I'm talking to Tobi Asare, author of the book The Blend and curator of the website My Bump Pay. We talk about negotiating for a pay rise, how to show your value, how to overcome the part time pay penalty as a working parent, and how to make sure you're not suffering from the pension pay gap, especially after having taken parental leave. A very important conversation, in my view. I hope you enjoy it.
00:02:26:20 - 00:03:19:14
Amazing. Thank you so much. Like you say, it is an absolute honour to be on this podcast, especially as an avid listener on my weekly walks, so it's lovely to be here today. Thank you for introducing me. My name is Tobi. I run a platform called MyBumpPay, which is really there to help women smash the glass ceiling with a baby on the way and beyond. It’s a content- based platform. I absolutely love it. And it's now out there in the format of a book, which feels absolutely unreal to me called The Blend How to Successfully Manage a Career and a Family. That's just part of one of the many hats that I wear. The main that I wear is as a board member and Business Development Director at one of the UK's largest media agencies, OMD, UK. And I have two children, Joshua, who is five, and Grace who is three, and her husband as well.
00:03:20:07 - 00:03:23:09
A very full life, I am sure.
00:03:23:09 - 00:03:23:19
00:03:23:19 - 00:03:31:23
And tell me one thing you used to believe to be true about combining big careers with young children that you don’t subscribe to anymore.
00:03:31:23 - 00:04:19:08
Gosh, it's really hard to think about kind of one thing I used to believe. I think I went into it thinking that a) I'd be really good as a parent or it would naturally just happen for me because I grew up in a really big family. So, I thought the whole parenting day would be pretty easy. And I just kind of lumping it alongside everything else that I did as not saying that you can't do all of those things, but actually parenting is is hard. Working is hard, and blending the two of those things is therefore also hard. Definitely not impossible. So, I think that's probably the thing that surprised me about parenting and work and being a parent that actually it was harder than I thought it would be because I thought I'd just be a natural mother. But actually, it wasn't the case.
00:04:19:08 - 00:04:35:09
Yeah, it's so funny, isn't it, how we just. I mean, even just I don't know if you ended up breastfeeding or not, but it's such a funny thing with the physiologic you, the physiological stuff, you know, you assume it just comes naturally. And for me, it definitely didn't. Yes. It's so strange, isn't it?
00:04:35:20 - 00:05:01:18
Absolutely. I remember those videos that they show you, those antenatal classes of kind of the baby naturally rooting for the breast. And you just think, oh, it would be as easy as that. And, no, for me, you know, just breastfeeding as a small example, that was a real uphill struggle. Both my children had tongue tie and eventually, you know, going through that and resolving that and then kind of learning how to make that attachment to everything in parenting every single day is a lesson. But those lessons make us stronger and better. But it is definitely a journey.
00:05:01:18 - 00:05:28:05
Definitely, and it's a journey that always keeps us on our toes. As soon as you're cracked or you think you've cracked something, there's a new, a new area of learning, let's put it that way. Yes. So, your book is called The Blend, and I know that you're an advocate of blending work and life and family commitment and your self-care rather than work-life balance. Can you tell me a bit more about why you take that approach?
00:05:28:05 - 00:06:08:13
So, I remember very clearly with my first child kind of searching for this elusive balance, and the more I really pondered on it and just desperately trying to find this balance, I discovered or felt very strongly that actually this balance doesn't necessarily exist because the whole notion of balance, the whole idea of balance gives this illusion that you've got two neatly apportioned loads on each side. So, you've got a very neat bucket called work, and you’ve maybe got a very neat bucket called parenting, and maybe you’ve got a very neat bucket called self-care, time for yourself, when in reality parenting is really hard, as you've mentioned, and it can be very messy. You know, during your career is never straightforward. It can be so squiggly.
00:06:08:13 - 00:07:30:23
I love the podcast and the ladies that do Squiggly Careers, and I think it's an absolutely brilliant idea to kind of subscribe t. But yes, building your careers can also be messy and squiggly and also kind of finding time for yourself and making sure you're investing in yourself isn't straightforward. And all of those little buckets in life are never kind of equally apportioned, equally weighted or equally loaded. And I think therefore, trying to build something that is almost kind of gives a false fallacy that that balance is possible. Whereas when I think of the blend, I feel that's actually quite a harmonious thing to think about. You take the different mix of ingredients or structures that you need to make life work for you in that particular season.
So sometimes I think about making a cake. If you want to make a lemon cake, then you take the ingredients to make that lemon cake. And if you want to take a chocolate cake, you take a different set of ingredients and sometimes in your blend and your mix t here is more family time in the mix, so there's more focus on family in that mix depending on the season that you're in. And then other times there's more of your career ambitions and your career demands within that mix or blend of kind of parenting and life. And that's more than okay. So I found actually thinking about it as a blend to be quite forgiving, quite harmonious, and allows you to flex as you need as life evolves, as we all know that it definitely does.
00:07:31:15 - 00:08:09:12
I love this book. I can't remember the title of, which is not helpful, but I think it's called 4,000 Weeks. You know, the idea of and the whole premise of this by Oliver Burkeman and the premise is you're always going to have not enough time because you're going to die after [four] thousand weeks or something like that. Anyway, it's quite an uplifting book, but also, you know, just real, right? We're never going to have enough time. And I think the same comes to the blend. You're never going to be doing all the school project and workbook day preparation and just do it just in reality. And as you say, you have to try to be in the moment and enjoy without making that sound easy. It's really not easy, but also it is quite fun at times.
00:08:10:00 - 00:08:22:21
But you don't just blend work and life, technically, you also blend like a little, quite a big, side project with your website and content platform. Can you just tell our listeners, how do you do that?
00:08:22:21 - 00:10:06:17
That's a good question. I often ask myself the same question. I try and be as structured as I can about it, but also flexible at the same time. So, you know, if work is incredibly demanding in that season or weeks, then I don't necessarily attend that much time to the MyBumpPay platform because there's a wealth of information on them already, which is amazing, which means people can just go and on hopefully find what they need. Between that and the book, hopefully people are, you know, are well equipped in that particular sense.
But in terms of practical tips, my children, thankfully, hopefully not all the time, are in a pretty good routine. So, when they go to bed is really my time to do as I please. So sometimes that is working on MyBumpPay, sometimes it's seeing friends, sometimes it's working on extra work for my day job, if that's what is required at that particular moment in time. And also, the same with sometimes weekends. If they've got some classes in the morning, then I will scribble away to kind of use that time and use my commute time. For example. I always say it's not for the faint hearted. You have to be really willing, passionate, committed. There are sacrifices, but for me it's so massively important, deeply, personally important that I feel that every woman has the opportunity, the tools, the information, much like you're doing with your podcast, the inspiration to actually go out there and build either the career or the life that they so desperately want and not let building a family get in the way of that and actually allow building a family to give you the skills and the inspiration to still do those things and still have that big career or, you know, have that big life goal. So, it's not always practically easy. And I like to be structured but flexible.
00:10:07:03 - 00:10:22:23
And I think it's very important that you say it's not easy and nobody should feel bad if they feel it's tough because it is. But also, it's I mean, nobody can see your face, but your face lights up when you talk about these different areas of work. So, it sounds like you are doing it because of a purpose.
00:10:22:23 - 00:10:23:23
00:10:24:05 - 00:10:54:01
Yeah. And I think I mean, maybe it's because the sun is shining and I'm feeling really enthused internally, but I think there is something of course, it's exhausting to have both parenting and career and then also other challenging side things that you're involved in. But there's something really nice to be involved in things that have a purpose. And actually, if you can make a difference, then why not? That's much better than not, you know, not doing that for me personally anyways.
00:10:54:18 - 00:11:41:15
I couldn't agree more. There's nothing better when sometimes I open my inbox to an email that says “I read a page of your book and it gave me the confidence to have a conversation with my peers or with my boss. And I'm now in a process where I'm kind of reviewing my role and possibly going off for promotion, or I feel like I've got more confidence today just to ask the question or I feel like actually I've got the confidence just to show up at work”. And sometimes that in itself is huge as it is, as we all know, kind of coming back from maternity leave and everything that can potentially do to your confidence and how you show up in the workplace so that fills me with so much joy because I just feel like imagine if we have an army of women who just feel confident about showing up as their true selves and giving everything that they can do to give their best irrespective of growing and building a family.
00:11:42:06 - 00:12:10:02
Fantastic. And when I first saw your profile pop up online, it was really around the pay and I was fascinated by it because I think we just don't talk about money enough. It is reality, isn't it? Your pay is negatively affected by having children. It’s not the childrens’ fault, its the system's fault. But, as a working parent, that is what's happening. What made you start thinking about pay and parenthood?
00:12:10:15 - 00:13:57:09
It's a really good question. I was the first person in my office location where I worked at the time to go on maternity leave, so they were very much on this journey of figuring out what maternity pay packages look like and what to offer. So that is something that definitely piqued my interest and actually the platform started all around money because I felt and I knew from my first-hand experience that money is such a massive component to starting and raising and going on the journey of building a family. And therefore, actually we start to equip women and couples with as much information around the whole money side that hopefully people can make really informed decisions that will help empower the right decisions that will last them throughout their career. So that's really kind of where it started. And the more I kind of dug into it, I realized, you know, obviously we want know stats around the gender pay gap, etc., but I realized that there really is a real need for women in particular to be talking about money.
There's a statistic in the United States and it's based on dollars. So, forgive me, but there is a statistic, United States that says because women don't necessarily always talk about money or advocate or negotiate over a lifetime, they can lose up to I think it's between $1million and $1.5 million USD just by not negotiating and talking about money. So that could be anything [from] the impact of your pension at the end of your working life to, you know, promotions and opportunities and maybe savings through negotiations and things like that.
So fundamentally, it's really important from the very beginning, even before we have children to instil a confidence and equip women to be able to talk about money. But we all know that having a child is a really pivotal point in that journey.
00:13:57:09 - 00:14:08:11
How do you get that confidence to talk about money? Is it because you are a Business Director you have to talk about money for your job, or have you just got a natural ease with it?
00:14:09:11 - 00:14:46:20
I don't think I necessarily have a natural ease. I think I also have the same questions and inertia in my mind as everybody else. But it is for me at least, hearing sounds like that start at the beginning that I just mentioned. That makes me feel like if I don't ask, I won't necessarily know or I won't get. I may get a no. But with that no I’ll hopefully ask questions around why? Why is that? Get those data points in time, figure out what that means for my story and for my journey. And for the next time, I would like to ask how can I make a better ask, a more convincing ask? So always think of data like that.
00:14:47:02 - 00:15:33:13
But also, I think about it, and I encourage women to think about it in the terms of value. So, if you're thinking about the value that you are bringing either to an organization or to a discussion or to a commercial agreement of some kind, you should always be thinking that you need to be fairly compensated for the value that you are bringing. And so therefore, if there's a discrepancy in the value that you're bringing to the table in the way that you're being compensated, it is a question about parity and it's a question about fairness, really. So sometimes if you detract yourself as an individual from the equation and actually think about it as the value and actually when you're going on your career journey, document the value that you're bringing, document those achievements and document those results, it can be a little bit easier.
00:15:34:05 - 00:16:08:23
And also, I think you start with the small things, just get into the habit of asking questions and having those conversations that sometimes are slightly uncomfortable. If you start with something small and just kind of you realize actually it's not that scary. And through that conversation, you've hopefully unlocked a new insight that's enabled you to do something better or smarter or quicker the next time. So, it really is a journey and there's some wonderful people out there who are either confidence coaches or career coaches that can actually help unlock the power to have some of these conversations as well.
00:16:10:01 - 00:16:56:21
Yeah, I think you're right. Very often the first thing is about asking. I did a podcast, you may have come across it with Vanessa Bohns and I never forget, she says in her research she found that people underestimate the number, the likelihood of people to say, yes, people are much more likely to say yes than you think. And I think that's especially true given I just read a stat last week, apparently 93% of employers have trouble attracting talent right now. And we're recording this in April 2023. So that means you are in a good negotiating position, they probably want to keep you and especially if you're adding that value. Obviously, there are systemic challenges to the gender pay gap, there's automation and all that, but if you don't ask, you don't get and you need to practice asking those things.
00:16:57:05 - 00:17:37:20
I hate to kind of stereotype or put people into a box like that, but I always think that what would a man do in that situation? And not always, always this is necessarily true, but I think organizations, especially if you are, let's say, going for a new job, organizations expect you to have a bit of a negotiation back and forth. And the negotiation doesn't necessarily always have to be about money because that might not be the thing that's valuable to you. It may be flexible working, or it may be how you structure your holiday, especially if you've got school children. So sometimes some of those asks might be a little bit easier in terms of asking for money, but actually, again, you still build your confidence in making those a necessary effort.
00:17:37:20 - 00:18:36:06
And the more you ask, the easier it gets. Obviously, I'm very aware of the structural inequalities and I don't get a salary because I run my own organization. But I do sometimes get asked to speak, which isn't, you know, I don't seek out those opportunities, but they come to me. Sometimes organizations say, you know, could you do a speech on career progression for women and so on? And I made a rule with myself to always ask for 20% more than I think in my gut is what I should be asking, because I know I've been socialized to have a bias, to not, not asking for money, therefore, and I'm Swiss, I should say. So, there's a cultural elemental. Let's not talk about that horrible Swiss banking situation. But we don't tend to talk about money in Switzerland, and we definitely feel very scared sometimes. Like as individuals to ask about it. So if I come from Switzerland, none of the job adverts ever do have a salary anyway, so that's in a bracket. But since I've started doing that and always asking for 20% more, nobody ever thought I was too expensive.
00:18:36:13 - 00:19:19:03
So that was quite interesting, isn't it? And it's so easy to underestimate what your value and if even I do it and I talk about these things all the time, then surely listeners should definitely think about that too. And so if someone, let's say, is going on maternity leave and then comes back and some people tell me that they feel a little bit of a lack of confidence coming back, but they also know they've been missed out of a round of pay rises just because of the structure of how things are done. Maybe pay rises are linked to performance appraisals and they haven't had those performance appraisals. Do you have any reflections on what you've seen work well for women or parents who did ask for pay in those situations?
00:19:19:23 - 00:20:11:01
Yes, absolutely. I mean, in terms of how it should work, if, even if you are on maternity leave, you should still be included in some kind of performance review. So ideally, as much as possible, I really encourage parents who are going on some kind of parental leave, as this definitely includes the other partner as well. If you're doing shared parental leave, for example, I definitely encourage them to ask before they go on maternity leave or parental leave. How are the performance reviews taking place whilst I'm off and what are the opportunities for me to make sure that I'm still included in that leave? So, I think actually having that kind of conversation gives you clarity, but also ensures that hopefully that you're not left off. And if it is performance related, I would also ensure that you're leaving a document around your performance before you go on any kind of performance leave that actually documents the value that you've bought that organization.
00:20:11:01 - 00:21:34:22
And as evidence and even better, if you have a sponsor who can back those evidence points up, make sure that they do, and also advocate for people sharing that document or piece of evidence with their sponsor. So that sponsor can actually advocate for them if there are any reviews happening in their absence. So definitely, definitely ask. And in a situation where, let's say you weren't able to necessarily ask or gather that information before going on leave, I would still do it. You know, immediately after coming back. I'd still have that initial conversation either with HR or your manager because hopefully there will be a few sessions to kind of get you in to back into the business. Or using a keeping in touch day to do that and would definitely, definitely ask. And that ask again would be based on the value and the achievements and the evidence that you've hopefully collected during the time before you went off on parental leave. And if you're feeling some kind of inertia of confidence, you have to remind yourself that your skills do not stop because you have gone on parental leave. It's not a career break, it's a career continuation in a very, very different way.
We talk about it in the book, I've given prompts for people to actually remember the different skills that they're still building whilst on parental leave, because it can be so easy to forget because you're not thinking about yourself, you're thinking about, you know, raising a new child and this new additional role that you've got.
00:21:35:09 - 00:22:03:11
So, I always, always encourage people to have the conversation. If that conversation is challenging and you therefore believe that conversation is challenging based on a protected characteristic of you taking some kind of parental leave, then I definitely would advocate kind of seeking some additional advice just to sense check where that conversation is heading. If you feel that it's heading in a way that actually is potentially discriminatory. But hopefully that's not the case for people. But I know it can be in some cases.
00:22:04:04 - 00:22:58:12
Definitely. I think it's important to say, yeah, and I really think your point that it is possible to have those conversations just after maternity or shared parental leave or even during is so true.
So, with our partnership program, I see people, you know, I hear the stories of what they're doing, their successes, their challenges and so on. And I heard so many stories of people who did ask the questions I think came back really surprising, “Oh, I got a promotion while on maternity”. I mean, it wasn't a complete surprise because they applied, but they asked to be considered for promotions, to ask to be included. They asked for a pay rise. They asked to be paid the same for doing four days a week as for doing five days a week and coming back. I think the crux is showing that value, like you said. So, what are your top two or three tips? I know it's not that simple, but I guess what would you advise someone who wants to show their value to an employer?
00:22:58:23 - 00:24:01:03
So, I think, first of all, you have to get absolute, crystal clear clarity on what excellent looks like in your role. Sounds pretty straightforward, but if you don't, then you there might be a misalignment of your expectations of where you actually place that value. You may think the value is in running this amazing team, and honestly, that's a very good thing to do. But actually, what the business values in that moment, based on the business strategy and direction is another element of your performance. So, get really crystal clear on what is it that the business expects from you and then obviously perform, because that is an absolute given. You've got to be a really high and strong performer and then document your achievements as you are kind of going on that particular journey. And if you can get proof points and evidence and other people to also kind of align and chime in with the fact that you're doing a wonderful job and maybe kind of in 360 reviews and you don't have to wait for a formal point in your career to give a formal 360 review, you can just ask your peers or people that are more senior to you for feedback and you can kind of collect this.
00:24:01:03 - 00:25:33:06
And I actually really strongly advocate for maybe doing this in an Excel sheet. The wonderful thing about Excel is that obviously you can have the different tabs. So as your role evolves, as you take on different opportunities, maybe there are side projects within your organization, you can actually document those achievements and it becomes like a personal portfolio that you can carry around with within your career and, you’re not always scratching your head, “Oh, when did I do that thing and what was the result and what was the impact of what was the evidence of it?” If you are documenting it across your career, it then becomes very, very, very easy.
And I know you talk a lot about sponsorship in your in your programs, but sponsorship, I believe, is vital. There is a quote that I absolutely love from Catullus that we have in the book, and I carry it around with me in my head everywhere I go. But it says that women are largely always behind men in terms of, you know, the career ladder for progression and opportunities. And they remain behind men even with mentorship. But when you have a highly placed mentor, a.k.a a sponsor, the woman has the opportunity to actually propel themselves to the top of the list or eliminate the list in itself. So sponsorship is massively important. And as I mentioned, I really advocate for sharing your successes and sharing your wins with you with your sponsor on a regular basis. It doesn't necessarily have to be a meeting, but if you are kind of keeping this dossier or portfolio of your achievements, you can share it at regular intervals and make sure that your sponsor is also kind of advocating for you that make the job really easy for them to do so.
00:25:33:15 - 00:26:31:14
And the last thing I'd say is probably profile and visibility, which everybody feels like, well, not everybody, it can feel like quite a daunting thing to think about as a parent or as a mother and your thinking, my goodness, how can I be visible when I've got to be in 10,000 places at once? Be really strategic about the visibility that you believe that you need in your organization? Are there projects that are aligned to your passion that are also really important to the business that you can contribute to because you've got the right skillset to do so or you've just got the passion to do so? And are these projects kind of associated with somebody who is a really good person to know in your organization who would then have visibility over what you're able to deliver, and if so, how can you get involved and add value? Perception and visibility and people knowing who you are and what you can do is incredibly important.
00:26:31:14 - 00:26:54:16
It's not enough, sadly, just to work hard. You've got to be visibly working hard and visibly known for the value that you're bringing as well. So, I always say to women, don't just kind of come back from don't leave and think, “oh, my goodness, I'm so lucky to be back. I'm just going to keep my head down and do a good job”. Now keep your head up. Did a good job. Make sure that your performance and your value is also visible around your organization.
00:26:54:23 - 00:27:24:21
Couldn't agree more. One thing that really annoys me is that per hour part time work in the UK gets paid less than full time work. The gender pay gap is strongly driven by that because more women work part time. Obviously, many parents to negotiate from full time to part time roles and then end up accepting low pay, they’re not offered lower pay but then they might not, you know, in the next role, they might not get higher paying. So what are your reflections on that?
00:27:25:11 - 00:28:24:02
I cou ldn't agree more. It is highly frustrating. I think my reflections on that would be as much as you possibly can is to obtain data points from the market. So it could be speaking to peers or maybe speaking to recruiters or headhunters who have a really good perspective of what the data is saying for that particular skill set and that particular role and make sure that you understand what the market value is for your role at a full time salary and therefore look back at what you are contributing or what you’re actually doing and make sure does it actually aligned to the number of hours that you are contracted to work for? Of course, there's nothing wrong with working over and above, but if you are working way over above and therefore not being compensated appropriately as the market has been compensating for similar roles, then you need to have a conversation with the right data points. So, I say don't be afraid again to kind of have those conversations about money and talk about money.
00:28:24:08 - 00:29:01:01
And one thing is that we haven't necessarily mentioned is that sometimes you can just be in an organization that isn't progressive around all of these things, especially when it comes to supporting working parents. And I don't advocate, you know, just jump the ship for the sake of jumping the ship. But actually, when you find an organization that really values you, your skill set, working parents, you can and you will flourish. So, a lot of this sometimes is, you know, finding your feet within a brilliant organization that will allow you to do great work, deliver great value, price that is fair within the market.
00:29:01:04 - 00:30:07:05
Absolutely. I think there is something also about the gratitude and understanding that we are wired , this is very, very stereotypical. But from working with our Fellows, I can see that especially those who work in traditional organizations, have to fight really hard to get flexible working arrangements, even today, especially if they are going down to three days or something like that, rather than just working for four days over five or something. And the problem is that you have to inner gratitude and you think, “Oh my goodness, I'm so glad I finally got this arrangement”. And then you feel like you shouldn't ask for that extra pay rise at the next round of appraisals. And I think if ever you think you shouldn't ask, you know, what would someone do who routinely asks for pay rises and gets routinely promoted? I tell them I wouldn't officially say I think what a man would do, because that's quite stereotypical. I agree. But I tell my sister whenever she's unsure about doing something, I say, “What would a man do?” And then she's she's on her way. So, yeah, I think that's exactly what we should think about. Yeah.
00:30:07:12 - 00:30:35:04
I think it's one thing if you're not performing and you're not meeting the expectations of your organization, that's a completely different conversation. But where you are and you're overachieving, but I think you have every right to have those conversations or at least explore them. And if it is a no, then you find out why it is a no. Maybe that no is a very reasonable no. But at least you understand rather than left wondering and thinking, could I, should I? So yeah, I absolutely agree with you there.
00:30:35:20 - 00:31:03:21
And what do you think about the pension pay gap? So in the UK and I know we have listeners from across the world as well, but in the UK at least, women tend to end up with smaller pension pots than men, which makes them dependent on men. If they are coupled up, it makes them more likely to end up in poverty. Is there anything that we can prevent falling behind on the pension side during the time when we bringing up young children?
00:31:04:09 - 00:32:20:17
Absolutely. And it's not just the UK. Sadly, in the US as well, there is a similar trend in terms of pensions and largely to do with raising children or taking time out to care for somebody which predominately falls on on the woman. But also, that's another factor that contributes to this, and that is that women tend to outlive men as well. So actually, our pension pots on average, not necessarily all the time, but on average actually need to be larger than men's pension pots because we tend to outlive men at the moment. That's just the way that the data tends to show. So, yes, I mean, there's interesting things that you could do. So, for example, making sure that you've got enough of a history of National Insurance credits, because that actually impacts your state pension too, that is looking into things like child benefit, that that will help you to make sure that you can actually have enough a record when it comes to that so that you are eligible for your pension. And then things like, it depends, everyone's relationship dynamic is different,if you are in a relationship, but if you are talking about maternity leave and you're thinking about how long you should take off maternity leave and how that's going to impact your earnings and therefore impact salary, or maybe if you're going back on part time hours and again that will impact your earnings, impact your salary and impact your pension contributions.
00:32:21:03 - 00:33:44:01
I think at that point, really important to explore conversations about potentially topping up the other person's pension pot if your partner is in a position to do so. I've even heard of and again, this is maybe slightly it's a very privileged position to be in. I appreciate, but I've heard of people whose parents, for example, have even topped up their pension pot because their parents are in a position to do so. But again, I appreciate that is a small, privileged percentage within the UK, but I think just being aware that actually taking some kind of leave or changing your hours can actually impact your pension pot at the end is a really powerful place to start from. I think not being aware of those things can sometimes be where the small snowball effect really starts in a very negative way. And if you can at some point when you kind of go back into work and maybe hopefully progress if you can afford to and very, very difficult because childcare is so incredibly expensive, but where you can afford to overpay into your pension and make sure that you're taking advantage of any kind of employer contribution, definitely encourage people to do so where they can. But I appreciate again, it's very difficult because there's lots of different financial pressures on families right now.
00:33:44:07 - 00:34:11:12
I think you're absolutely right to mention that. And we are in a cost of living crisis at the moment, and it is worth looking at how much your employer pays and how that compares to the market. And even considering that as you are choosing who you want to work for, because that pension may not matter right now, but it will matter 30 or whenever you are retiring. Okay. Yeah, absolutely. I feel so grown up talking about pension.
00:34:11:12 - 00:34:20:04
I know it goes things that are important, but yeah, you know, one. Of those things, it's such a big complicated topic at times.
00:34:20:23 - 00:34:51:01
Definitely. And thinking about fathers, you mentioned fathers a number of times. So, it looks like I saw a different research. Sadly, people seem not to be that interested in researching dads working flexibly. We still all assume that dads all want to be these breadwinners working full time. Do we know anything about the impact on pay for working dads who choose to work flexibly today get the same punishment, the same type of discrimination, the pay that women do?
00:34:51:13 - 00:35:33:15
I don't know of any research directly. I can only think of kind of anecdotally that I don't know exactly how it impacts that pay, but anecdotally I know that they struggle to also sometimes have conversation scenes, obviously, depending on where they're working. I think one thing is, you know, raising the topic in itself. Not all men feel comfortable raising the topic about working flexibly, depending where they work and the culture. And then secondly, they often find that there can be a lot of pushback, largely because of things like the very low take up of shared parental leave, often where men want to take shared parental leave, very often they're one of the very first people to do so in the organization or one of the very few people to do so in the organization.
00:35:33:15 - 00:36:30:01
So, there aren't many precedents if people actually doing it. So, it can be quite challenging. It's actually one of the reasons why in the book very fortunately, we talked to a couple that have done shared parental leave three times, and I think they're a wonderful, very rare, but a very wonderful example of what it looks like potentially for a family and how it can work. So, I do really agree with you. We need more data, we need more stories to celebrate the possibilities of fathers taking more of a parenting role and blending that with their work. There is a very small study that McKinsey actually where they look to a small subsection of fathers who took some kind of shared parental leave, and actually they found that it had a positive impact on their loyalty to their organizations and actually a positive impact when men took shared parental leave. But again, we need way more research and way more data in this area.
00:36:30:01 - 00:36:54:21
Definitely, if any researchers are listening and want to talk to us, get in touch. I think there's also something about that that's just anecdotally being encouraged to do that. Shared parental leave and getting positive messages. I also do hear sadly still quite a few stories of dads being sent, messages such as “Are you still committed to your career” when they want to take shared parental leave?
00:36:54:21 - 00:37:34:00
So really fantastic to have it in the Leaders Plus network and I'm sure in your network as well. There's so many dads who are doing it and who are changing the world for future generations just by not living up to their breadwinner expectation of working full time. So well done to all of them, without sounding patronizing. And I think the other thing is just my practical note. One thing that we do in our household is that I work four days a week and four days a week and. That just means two days. We don't need to pay for childcare. Obviously, it's great for him. It's great for me because we both have strong relationships with the kids. But it's fantastic because we do save quite a lot of money. Inner city London nursery fees.
00:37:34:06 - 00:37:35:07
00:37:35:12 - 00:37:49:01
Well, there's plenty of really, really useful resources on your website. I had a really good look around and there's a lot of things that I'm sure will be invaluable. Can you repeat the URL again so people can find it?
00:37:49:11 - 00:37:55:02
Really, it is www.mybumppay.com
00:37:55:02 - 00:37:57:03
Fantastic, and your book?
00:37:57:12 - 00:38:03:07
Yes, it's called The Blend: How To Effectively Manage a Career and a Family.
00:38:03:14 - 00:38:06:14
Fantastic and I presume it can be found online?
00:38:06:14 - 00:38:09:10
Amazon, Waterstones, WH Smiths, lots of retailers.
00:38:09:21 - 00:38:26:15
Fantastic, well congratulations on all the brilliant work I'm so pleased we had this conversation. Let's keep talking in some shape or form and I would like to ask you for just two practical tips that someone could take in 5 minutes or so if they want to improve their pay.
00:38:26:15 - 00:38:43:11
Really good questions, practical tips in 5 minutes.
One, I would say spend 5 minutes documenting your achievements and your evidence points.
And two, if you feel a bit nervous, but is about having the conversation to find somebody who will spend 5 minutes with you practicing the conversation and giving a little bit feedback.
00:38:43:14 - 00:38:47:06
Excellent advice. Thank you so much, Tobi.
00:38:47:06 - 00:41:23:13
Thank you for listening today. If you enjoyed the podcast and you think a nonjudgmental community of support would be helpful to you, then I would love to hear from you as an application to the Leaders Plus Fellowship programme. As you know, probably this is designed to help you to identify where you want your career to head and we'll give you a lot of support and encouragement along the way. And then most importantly, to help you make it possible to get there practically whilst being present with your family in whatever way you want that to be. Previous fellows have said it made them take really courageous steps that they never thought possible, and also that they made lifelong friends and connections. In our last cohort, more than half have got promoted or got additional senior responsibility by the end of the program. And that's particularly impressive because most of them work part time or flexibly. Plus I think they've all got quite mavericky, in a good way. They are all involved in some shape or form of driving change for working parents, be that mentoring other parents, be that changing policy in their organisations, whatever fits at that moment in their lives. It only takes about half a day, a week. Sorry, that would be a lot, half a month. So I think it's more than doable. It's been designed with parents in mind. You can find all the details leadersplus.org/crosssectorfellowship.
And also, if you want us to talk to your employer, to your organisation, about offering this to their employees, just let me know and my colleague Jo or I can have a conversation with them. My email is email@example.com.
On a completely unrelated note, I also feel passionate about gender equality in podcasting, and I've recently learned the top 100 podcast etc, is extremely male dominated, I think 90% male dominated or something like that, depending on what stat you look at. And I thought that needs to change urgently. So if you want to help and push forward a female led podcast - first of all listen to a female led podcast and if you think this podcast is is good and useful, then do share it, leave reviews and do all those things that increases the algorithms prominence. So yeah, for example, a WhatsApp or Signal message to some friends with a link to the podcast is always very welcome and very helpful and hopefully it will help us smash this particular glass ceiling in the podcast world!
See you next week and thank you so much for your support.