Sharing is caring (when it comes to salary data)
Salaries come up a lot in the Nashville UX Slack. We get a lot of people new to the field and new to the area. It’s an important question: “how much should I reasonably expect to be making?” In one of the most recent bouts of this conversation, it was suggested that we put together a salary survey. What a great idea!
In fact, it’s such a great idea that it turns out the Nashville Ladies Wine and Design group had already started one and kindly shared it with us.
A bunch of us from the UX community jumped in to contribute and started looking at the data. It was sobering.
It might be fair to say most of us know about the wage gap and how it affects women, minorities, and generally anyone who isn’t a white dude. But perhaps we don’t realize just how bad it is. Or maybe we know, you know, in that Wikipedia-slash-CIA-World-Factbook-slash-Google-told-me sorta way. Aggregated numbers and averages can be surprisingly intangible. Seeing individual numbers though… that paints a stark picture.
Looking at individual cases provides a different perspective. Each row in this table is a story Not just some faceless statistic, a person.
It’s important that we tell stories. Telling our stories to show others the way (or what to avoid); telling each other’s stories to share perspectives and build a community that lifts one another. Talk about your salary with the people you trust and care. Tell them how much you make and how you got (or ended up) to where you are. Be willing, when able, to answer questions about negotiation or compensation. Knowledge is power, and the power dynamics are already skewed against so many.
Help us all define the gap. While talk can be cheap and datapoints alone probably won’t fix this, the first step in solving a problem is understanding the shape of the problem. Innovation starts with data and stories that lead to insights and ideas.
Being generous and transparent with your salary data is one way to show that you support anyone who isn’t compensated fairly. Data is the new oil, after all—why should companies be the only ones mining it?
If you’re a design or technology professional in the Nashville area, please contribute to the LWD Nashville survey: