There’s no doubt about it, in nearly every industry there’s a gender pay gap. There are countless academic papers on the subject. It’s not as simple as a dollars per hour equation. Many contributing factors come into play when a pay gap is calculated, often it is predicated on decisions men and women are more biologically inclined to make.

Gender stereotypes and perceived effectiveness for a role. And even physical attributes of women and men. Men tend to gravitate toward physical vocations and work in more dangerous professions. Women are more caring by nature, and work in professions more suited to caring and nurturing. After all it’s biology and we’re wired differently.

We’re not here to argue for or against, or even to establish what the pay gap is. Because after all, we’re biased, we are a group of women. In one of the lower paid female-dominated professions out there. We’re here because, in life we feel that we are exactly where we have chosen to be, and that if something is happening to us, then we can choose. We can choose exactly how we are going to respond.

We do however, want to help some of our professional ladies who perhaps might be in a male-dominated profession and are looking to wave the Girl Gang flag high in the air and “stick it to the man”. We’re here to help and increase the odds that you will be on par or even surpass your male counterparts at that next performance review or when there’s consideration for a promotion on offer. And if that means an elegant balayage or ombre hair style, and a classy power suit from Khaite then we’re all for it.

What You Wear

It takes just 7 seconds for someone to form an opinion of you. As they say, first impressions count. So ladies, make those 7 seconds count and dress for success. It is a fine line though as we want to try and not intimidate the men in your organisation and also, not send the wrong message.

A recent study found that sexy attire is related to lower perceptions of competence for women in leadership positions. In one example, a female wearing revealing clothing was perceived to be less honest and trustworthy, electable, and competent than one wearing conservative clothing.

So what does this all mean? Dress appropriately, be conservative but classy, and dress age appropriately. Think Sandra Bullock in The Blind side, as opposed to her in Miss Congeniality. Ask yourself, “what does my clothing say about me?”

Those Tresses

How you style your hair will also play a big part in your overall appearance and therefore the perception you give and the messages you send. Different hair styles and hair colours can mean different things. These are not definitive and by no means do they stop you from showing your true personality and integrity.

Red hair, or closer to red tones (copper) are associated with personality traits of someone who is fun, hates to be bored, but also likes to keep things in check.

Curly hair can mean that you are warm-hearted, and you do things faster than other people. Women with curly hair can be more generous and like to help others where they can.

You’re very logical and a good thinker if you have medium, shoulder length hair. This medium style implies that you value common sense, are goal oriented, direct and like to get things done.

These are just some examples of what can be perceived just by your hair. Obviously, we’re not saying that you should ditch the on-trend Balayage for a copper red hair colour a week out from your next performance review. But just be aware of the message your hairstyle is sending.

Show Me The Money!

It’s fine to discuss what different hairstyles mean and how they are perceived. But that’s just one part of the puzzle. Next time there’s promotions on offer and you’re up against John from Ascot for the BDM position, we think Susan would be mad to not consider every aspect of human decision making, not just rest on her laurels and politely internalise “they’ll choose the best candidate”. But instead consider, what do the most successful women of our time do?

They be the women they need to be, to get the results that they want, and they do it with integrity, honesty and skilfully applied knowledge.

Success leaves clues

We’ve studied some of the most successful women in the world and they all have similarities. Their success will be your success.

The CEO of General Motors, Mary T Barra is a great example. She has a shorter, shoulder length hairstyle that is not too vibrant or loud, yet it is still very feminine. She is often seen wearing conservative, age appropriate attire that is flattering to her figure and is not sexualised. Just one look at Mary and you can see that she means business but is also approachable.

Former First Lady, Michelle Obama was probably one of the most loved and influential first ladies of our time. Her hair is generally blow-dry-curled, and rarely will it be any longer than shoulder length. Her hair style beautifully frames her face and is in proportion to her features. When you see what she wears, it screams class! Often seen in pant suits, or designer dresses. She’s not showing off cleavage or too much of her legs. She dresses conservative yet feminine and classy.

As with these two ladies, many of the wealthiest women in the world have similar hairstyles and dress sense. Conservative, classy, elegant and appropriate. They ensure that they are not wearing outfits that are overly sexualised or sexy, but they still manage to feel sexy while wearing it. Fit and cut is key here. Their hairstyle frames their features and doesn’t draw any extra undue attention to them.

Change Is Coming

When it comes to biology, predetermined bias, stereotypes and a plethora of external factors, we need to control the things we can change and accept the things we can’t. If you apply some of these ideas and ask yourself “what does my look say about me?” Then maybe you will be on your way to creating your own pay gap, in favour of yourself.

We’re not suggesting that what you wear and who does your hair is in any way a substitute for showing up and delivering value to your organisation. What we do believe is that, with a few minor tweaks to your wardrobe and the conversation with your hairstylist, you can greatly improve the odds of success in your favour.

The best most suitable candidate will be chosen, but who is doing the choosing? A human being who scrolls social media, who reads magazines and who no doubt has an opinion about you following that initial 7 second encounter.

So, don’t leave anything to chance, and don’t leave money on the table. Dress to impress, you have every right to be here and you are taking no prisoners. You are more than capable and well and truly qualified for the position.

That’s your promotion girl, let’s get at it!

Get The Business Balayage

We may not be personal shoppers, but we are talented hairstylists. If you want to own your space in the corporate world with a business appropriate balayage, give the girls at The Lounge & Co a call and let them help you on your way to the corner office.