Salary negotiation is the only way to get it from an employer.
Have you ever had someone offer you more money than you thought you were worth? It doesn’t happen often, but it did happen to me once.
I was interviewing and negotiating for a position, and the company offered more than I asked. I know I should have been happy when that number came in, but I wasn’t. It was a notice to me that I was undervaluing myself.
This is a common issue for women in the workplace. Here are two startling statistics:
• 85% of women who are offered a job do not try to negotiate the salary.
• The 15% who do negotiate, still earn 30% less than their male counterparts.
In my instance, I negotiated and still didn’t value my talents enough. How do we begin to change the mindset that keeps so many of us lagging behind our potential?
Know your worth
First, we must know our true worth in the marketplace. For many of us, self esteem issues can keep us from believing in our true value. If we don’t think our skill sets are worth a certain amount, we won’t ask for it. If we don’t value ourselves, we won’t get that value from our employers.
It’s very easy these days to research salary ranges for industries, regions of the country and levels of responsibility. Know the salary ranges for your career path.
Next, you should document the value you bring to your organization. Keep a record of commendations and awards.
I would even log positive comments from clients. The record needs to be specific — who said it, what they said, and when. Was this person a decision maker? What was the financial impact of your contribution? What’s the value of this customer to your company? Document all these things. They all help to quantify your value.
Negotiate, negotiate, negotiate
When you receive an offer, you should know a couple things. 1) They saw something special in you that they thought was worth investing in. 2) They expect you to negotiate. The first offer rarely reflects what a company is prepared to pay. Your potential employer will expect the push back. It’s part of the process.
The problem for many women is we hate to negotiate. Many men view negotiation as a sport, but we sometimes see it as pulling teeth. Anyone look forward to haggling with the car salesman? I’m sure some of you do, but I’m guessing you are in the minority.
Here’s how you get your true value
If you are ready to demand your worth, keep these tips in mind the next time you are interviewing:
Don’t talk about salary too early in the interviewing process. Don’t give the company a number until they make an offer. They will likely fish around or try to pressure you into telling them your current salary or expected range. Your standard response should be that you are willing to negotiate once you better understand the responsibilities of the position and the value your contribution can add to the company.
You should go into negotiation understanding the minimum, middle and high ranges you will accept. Your minimum should always go beyond your basic needs and include your ability to save for your future. Plan for the quality of life you want to lead. Include some cushion that you can use to permit yourself a few indulgences. Will you need in home child care to balance your career and family adequately? Plan for it when you determine your acceptable salary range.
I would also consider your other life’s goals. Do you want to go back to school? See if they will add that to your compensation package. Is travel important to you? Factor it in.
Finally, be prepared to accept failure. When you are negotiating, there is a chance that you might not get the dream job. That’s okay. If the company isn’t willing to pay you what you are worth, you could be avoiding a nightmare situation. Be willing to walk away from a company that does not value your contributions.
For me, getting offered more money than I asked was a wake up call that I did not know my true value. It was an issue I quickly addressed. You can, too. The life you have will be the one you negotiate.Tags: Salary Negotiation, Women and Finance, women and money