Recently, I got an email from a close friend talking about how a manager told her she wasn’t getting paid what she is worth because she wasn’t a male, the bread winner. So basically the manager insinuated that because she was a women she couldn’t be the bread winner thus the lower pay. Well what if she was a single mother or what if she was a widow? How does one justify saying these types of things in the work place?
So I got to thinking, why are women often paid less than their male counterparts even if they have the same or better qualifications? I went back to my first contract job many years ago and realized, some women don’t negotiate their salaries from the jump. I DIDN’T. I just wanted to get the job and start getting that hands-on experience, so I took the first offer and that was it. I undervalued my skill set because I didn’t feel that it was up to par to what I THOUGHT the guys in my all male team had. That was a mistake that could have cost me higher salaries throughout my career. Learn from your mistakes and don’t make them again!
Salary discussions can sometimes get awkward because you shouldn’t really talk about it in the workplace. I had a job working for a young adult clothing store as an Assistant Manager years ago and we fired folks if we found them discussing what they were getting paid. It creates this environment of distrust between employees and management. What folks get paid should be kept between that person and the boss. But when you start moving away from those hourly jobs and into a salary position, it is sometimes hard to not talk about what you make. There are many different resources like Glassdoor and FederalPay.org that provide pretty specific information on folk’s salaries. There is no hiding what someone in the same job as you is making across the country. But for those jobs where the salary ranges aren’t readily available, what can you do?
Salary - a fixed regular payment, typically paid on a monthly or biweekly basis but often expressed as an annual sum, made by an employer to an employee, especially a professional or white-collar worker.
Here are a few of my tips to help navigate the world of salary negotiations. These can be used for getting that raise that you deserve as well.
1. Know your value. This is very important. If you are fresh out of college with no experience, don’t go in with guns blazing asking for $150,000 unless you are like a super genius or a rocket scientist and even still that is a stretch. Research salaries for the job you are applying for. Make sure to take into account, your education, skills, and other experience you have. This is includes unpaid experience as well. Be realistic in your expectations but don’t undervalue yourself.
2. Don’t be first to disclose a number. You want to know what the company is offering. Ask them what the range is for the position. If they are hard pressed to give that to you, have a range in mind (discussed next). Don’t give the bottom of your range though, because that may be lower than the position the position offers and you may miss out on the extra money.
3. Have a range. You want room to grow at your company but you also want to get what you are worth for that position. The bottom limit of your range should be at least 10% higher than your current salary, if you have one. This limit may be higher depending on what you are bringing to the table. The upper limit should be 10 to 20 thousand higher. This range is for you to know when to walk away and when to pull out a counter offer. These are your limits. As a side note if you are moving to another location for a job, make sure to do some research on that job market. A good place to start is the Bank Rate. This site helped me make the decision to move across country and leave the government.
4. Be direct with what you want. The difference between some men and women here is that men just flat out say “I want to make X amount of dollars.” While women tend to beat around the bush and not come right out and say what they want. I was guilty of it. Again, just trying to get in the door. Make it known what you are willing to take. Don’t imply anything as this may cause you to get less money. This is where knowing your range helps out tremendously. Go with the higher of the range and work backwards.
5. Be willing to walk away. Sometimes, an employer just won’t budge on the salary they are offering. Know when to walk away from that opportunity. One common mistake that is made is accepting the first offer. You don’t have to do that. Remember your salary range!
6. Negotiate beyond salary. Once the base salary is determined, the rest of your compensation should be discussed. Things such as moving expenses, transportation expenses, food allowances, student loan repayment are just a few examples of things to discuss with the employer before making a final decision. Benefits are not always firm and can be negotiated if you have the right information.
7. Ask questions. Above all else, ask questions. If you are curious about the salary or the benefits, ask those questions. Get answers to make an informed decision. Starting a new job is hard work. Do go into blind.
There are tons of articles and information out there for negotiating salary. The internet is a powerful tool that should be utilized the effectively negotiate your entire compensation package. These are just a few of my top tips and what I used to get the job I am in today. Great pay with even better benefits! Women, negotiate your worth and don’t settle because it is the first offer on the table. Men you can use this information too!!
If you have tips and tricks to negotiating salary, let us know! Sharing is caring.