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By Marsha Firestone and Lisa Schiffman 

Nashville-based entrepreneur Sherry Deutschmann built her company, LetterLogic, into an enterprise with $40 million in revenue before selling it to a private equity firm in 2016. As the firm’s founder, Deutschmann went seven years without giving herself a raise, and paid herself the relatively low amount of $225,000, even after the company crossed $30 million in sales. Her board encouraged her to finally take a pay hike. She says “Absolutely, it’s the truth” that men she knows in comparable positions paid themselves more. And she wonders now if this hurt her.

“Interestingly, when I sold my company, I suspect that the PE firm who bought us thought less of my business acumen…simply because I was paying myself about half what my male counterpart was making,” Deutschmann said in an interview. “It didn’t matter that I was running a faster-growing company and had zero debt. They likely devalued my leadership abilities because I had unwittingly devalued myself by not paying myself enough.”

She’s not alone: Prior studies have found that female founders are reluctant to pay themselves as much as their male counterparts choose to pay themselves.

But recent research shows this may be changing.

In the Business Outlook Survey, conducted annually by EY and the Women Presidents’ Organization (WPO), a global education and advocacy group, we ask WPO members and participants in EY’s global Entrepreneurial Winning Women program a slew of questions about their work and wages, growth aspirations, concerns, and opportunities. In the survey just completed this spring, we found some encouraging signs: Women planned to give themselves solid raises in the coming year.

Read more here.

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