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The app that’s helping women get a pay rise

A picture of Meggie Palmer and three women wearing Pep Talk Her tshirts.
Pep Talk Her, the app that tracks your wins at work. (Source: MeggiePalmer.com, PepTalkHer.com, Getty)

Australia’s current full-time gender pay gap is currently at 14.1 per cent – and, believe it or not, that’s an all-time low.

But for journalist-turned-entrepreneur Meggie Palmer, the gap became a major problem when she realised that her pay and conditions were very different to men doing the same job as her.

When she raised it with her boss, she was essentially told to either take it or leave it.

“I guess I kind of feel like the blinkers were taken off at that point in my career,” Palmer told triple j Hack.

“I just couldn't cop it anymore, I just thought this is complete rubbish, like something has to change and I felt like I couldn't sit by and watch it happen anymore.”

How does it work?

The free app works like a period tracker – “but for your career, not your cycle”, according to the Pep Talk Her website.

It encourages women to record their salary as well as their achievements, successes, and wins at work, all of which becomes data to back up conversations about pay rise and promotions when the time comes.

“It is about changing women’s views of themselves and their self-worth,” Palmer said, as reported in Women’s Agenda.

“I believe if we can change that, then women will be better able to advocate and negotiate and then, hopefully, conditions will improve.”

The app also makes use of a concept in psychology called ‘nudge theory’ that involves “small incremental changes over a long period of time, adding up to be significant behavioural change”.

"So then in six months, nine months, when you've got that conversation with your boss, you press one button, export it and you get an email which has all that data in the one place for you," Palmer told Hack.

It’s about the data and the confidence

While there are lots of women who are great negotiators, there are also plenty who don’t have the confidence or don’t want to rock the boat when it comes to talking about pay with their bosses.

"The women that we're trying to help are those women who don't have the confidence and don't have the skill base where they feel they can have those conversations," she said.

People management specialist Karen Gately said that confidence and information were crucial to a person’s success in pay negotiations.

"The pay you're able to earn is going to be reflective of the value you're able to bring to the business, and clearly your competencies, your capabilities, the things you are great at are the very things that the employer is likely to value," she told Hack.

"The more you can talk about them, explain, the more you can justify that worth."

Outside of the app, Pep Talk Her also does coaching to help women (and men) secure pay rises.

“We do a lot of coaching in corporate of women and men in their early 30s and we’ve been able to get them $60,000 pay raises,” Women’s Agenda reported Palmer saying.

“It’s not rocket science. It’s about mapping out where you are, how your perform, what the market is doing and quantifying any non-financial benefits in your role.”

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