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Negotiating Your Salary: To Do or Not To Do
When it comes to salaries, studies show that on average women earn about 83 cents for every dollar men earn. Gender differences in negotiating starting salaries are considered one of the largest contributors to this issue.
In attempts to create a level playing field, the focus has been on encouraging women to be more assertive in negotiating salaries. Workshops, summits, and conferences on the art of negotiation for women have become quite popular. However, research shows that the gender pay gap has nothing to do with skills and everything to do with the fear women have of backlash as a result of deeply engrained societal norms related to women being helpful, passive, and accommodating.
A 2020 Harvard Law School Report, Counteracting Negotiation Biases Like Race and Gender in the Workplace states, “Men, by contrast, generally can negotiate for higher pay without fearing a backlash because such behavior is consistent with the stereotype of men as assertive, bold and self-interested.”
In a Glassdoor Economic Research Report, 32% of women reported that they did not negotiate their salaries. Here are the reasons they cited for not negotiating:
|Fear of being denied
|Fear of losing their job
|Not having enough information about fair market compensation for their role
|Not knowing how to negotiate
|The potential for a negative impact on my future career opportunities (e.g., not getting assigned to key accounts/projects)
|The potential impact on my relationships with coworkers
In a recent Glassdoor Harris Survey of Employed Women, 63% revealed that they believe the great resignation provided more leverage for them to negotiate their compensation. 50% of women surveyed said they negotiated beyond pay for flexible work hours after their initial job offers.
As employers face the challenge of talent retention, they are more inclined to offer great candidates higher salaries and benefits packages in order to attract the right people. Now is as good a time as any to strengthen your negotiation skills and ask for what you are worth in the job market. Here are some negotiation tips to help you make that ask and get what you are worth!
- Do your research! Get to know the salary trends for your industry so that you are equipped to negotiate effectively. Research shows that women are more successful in negotiating salaries when they have adequate information on salary ranges for the role. Use sites like https://salary.com or www.salaryexpert.com to research compensation for your industry or role.
- Know your Unique Value Proposition (UVP)! What is it that sets you apart from the competition? You must be able to clearly articulate the benefits you bring to your employer and how you solve their customers’ needs. Additionally, you must be able to give solid examples of your skills and expertise as well as the success you brought to your current role/organization in order to convince potential employers that you are worth the additional investment.
- Don’t be too quick to accept offers! Carefully review them and find comparable roles in other organizations to evaluate how the offer stacks up against your current compensation and any other opportunities you are considering.
- Negotiate beyond base salary! Be sure to consider other benefits like bonuses, job perks, flexible time, and investment in your development during your employment; these hold significant value also.
- Be pitch ready! Know the key points you will use to negotiate and practice your pitch with a trusted mentor or friend who can offer valuable feedback. Presenting yourself as calm and confident is key to a successful salary negotiation.
As a senior human resources executive, I have seen how negotiations can go wrong. In addition to the tips to properly prepare yourself for effective negotiation, it is equally important that you avoid these salary negotiation mistakes.
- Accepting an offer too quickly. Even the best job offers should be reviewed carefully when you are in the mental space to properly assess and determine if indeed it is the best option for you. This should be done in private without the pressure of a human resources director or future employer staring at you intensely waiting for a response. Thank him or her for the offer and ask them to allow you a day or two to consider it and respond.
- Revealing what you are willing to accept and make a salary pitch too early. Ideally, you should wait until you are the final candidate or you’ve been offered the role to have the salary discussion. Telling an employer too early what you will accept leaves you no room for negotiation. This can sometimes be difficult to avoid as some employers may request salary history or requirements at the application submission stage or in preliminary interviews. Being prepared with your response is key. Try to be as non-committal as possible; giving a wide salary range or stating that you are expecting competitive or fair compensation for the role is a better option than sharing numbers too early.
- Don’t fall into the Need/Greed trap. A common negotiation pitfall is candidates focusing on what they believe they need or deserve as a salary rather than strengthening their UVP and pitching the value they bring to the organization or potential employer. Don’t make your salary negotiation about your personal expenses or needs, focus on your value, and what makes you worth the employer’s investment.
- Making too many counteroffers. If you are offered the role and the employer and position are a great fit but you are unsatisfied with the compensation, making a counteroffer is wise. However, be sure to properly assess the offer and pick out the one or two important elements you need to address. You shouldn’t counter every aspect of the job offer. Be sure to make one solid counteroffer and not have a back-and-forth battle as this can lead to the offer being rescinded.
I hope this has been helpful to you. If you are struggling to negotiate your salary, I am here to help. Reach out and let’s get you on the path to successfully negotiating your worth.
About the Author
Name: Sheba Wilson
Title: Bestselling Author, Inspirational Speaker & Executive Leadership Coach
Bio: Sheba Wilson is the Bestselling Author of the book, Get Up & LEAD – Live Everyday Above Defeat. She is also the CEO of Sheba Wilson Consultancy LLC and Sheba Wilson Training Ltd, providing human resources solutions, consultancy, leadership development, executive coaching, and corporate training services. She is also the founder of She LEAD HR Solutions, providing streamlined and automated applicant tracking software for recruitment and onboarding employees.