Despite massive changes in the gender divide in modern business, women are still lagging behind their male counterparts in one key area. Salary. In most developed economies the gap is around about 20% and in the U.S. it’s 23%. The gap starts at graduation and continues to widen as women progress in their careers, leading to long-term financial insecurity. This is compounded when they find themselves as single parents, right through to post retirement.
Women will quite often say they don’t like to negotiate for themselves but remember:
- If a person cannot successfully negotiate for themselves it can bring into doubt their ability to effectively negotiate for their company.
- Ineffective or inconsistent negotiation practises leads to general vulnerability not just in the work place .
- To be consistently paid less than the market rate can indicate a lack of lack of self-worth – as above, leads to vulnerability.
- Good, fair negotiators are respected. Self respect fosters confidence.
- Despite what you think , there should be nothing you eventually can’t walk away from.
5 mistakes to avoid when negotiating your salary
Women apologise for almost everything. Do not start off any negotiation with “I’m sorry I know the economic climate isn’t right/it’s a tough time/you’re busy, but I’d really appreciate a salary review”. Be prepared! Don your salary research – be aware of your own market place and know your value in it. Calculate any shortfall. Facts talk!
Don’t forget to understand your own added value
Understand and be able to articulate all your areas of added value. This enhances self-respect and confidence and increases your expectations, because you now believe in yourself. Build a business case based on that knowledge.
Don’t get personal
Don’t take any discussions personally – get into business neutral. Negotiation is only a process, nothing else. Evaluate any rejection neutrally.
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Don’t be afraid of “No”
No, is just another stepping stone to resolution. Instead of saying “ O.K. so that’s it then” and slinking off with your tail between your legs, see it as a starting point. Remember what your kids say when you refused them something. They always counter with ” why?” or “why not.?” This is no different. Ask them “which piece of the proposition is unacceptable?” Work through every line if you have to, getting onto the same page and establishing where the blockage is.
If you are turned down after going through a rigorous negotiation process, the question should be not be “do you want to stay in this job?” but “when would be a good time to leave? My employer doesn’t value me”.
Don’t forget fringe benefits as well as financial incentives.
Benefits can eventually have a high monetary value and also play an important role in work/life balance issues. There is a caveat in the sense that generally benefits do not count toward pensionable earnings if there is a scheme. Factor this in fully.
So go on… what are you waiting for! Take our survey. When was the last time you negotiated your salary?
Also read an entire article series on how to negotiate your salary and benefits here.