When it comes to gender equality in the workplace, the gender pay gap is a hot topic. Across most industries, women make less money than men, and most people try to dismiss the issue placing the blame on the women who don’t ask for a higher salary. While there is research that could support that thought, the truth is that salary negotiation for women is an entirely different process than for men.
When it comes to salary negotiation, women do ask for raises and promotions as much as men, but women are less likely to receive a raise. Furthermore, women that attempt to negotiate their salary find themselves penalized when they do so. For my ladies looking to get that raise or a higher salary in 2017, here is what you need to know about salary negotiation for women.
By the Numbers: Women in the Workplace 2016 Study
This past fall, the Women in the Workplace 2016 study was released, and its findings clearly suggest that women are disadvantaged in the workplace. Women will begin to fall behind early in their careers and continue to lose the group with every step.
One of the main findings of this study was that women are negotiating as much as men, but typically do not get the pay or promotion they are looking for. Compared to men who negotiate, women who do the same are 30 percent more likely to receive feedback that they are being too “bossy”, “too aggressive”, or “intimidating”. Even if they are asking for the same rate, women are 25 percent less likely than men to get a raise when they ask.
The study also showed that women of color face even more barriers in corporate American. When it comes to promotion or salary negotiation for women, black women are the most disadvantaged. Even with 78 percent of companies reporting that gender diversity is a top priority, only 55 percent of firms have racial diversity as one of their top priorities.
Not only do women of color have to worry about gender discrimination, but they also face racial prejudices in a country where women of color have proven to be more ambitious about reaching high-level positions. These statistics show that this country has a long way to go when it comes to gender and racial equality as it applies to the corporate workplace.
Salary Negotiation for Women: Tips and Tricks
Companies need to take strides to ensure that their company is prioritizing gender (and racial) diversity, their hiring and promotion processes are fair, and hold themselves accountable. However, ladies, we know it may be some time before we solve the wage gap issue. So, in the meantime, what can you do to make sure you get the best likelihood of landing that promotion or raise?
Make sure that before you go to discuss a potential raise, promotion, or title change, you are prepared. Throughout the year, make a list of all the things that you have done. Remember all those times when your supervisor gave you positive feedback about a project? Keep those emails because it’s something you can use to support your case.
Part of being prepared is also doing your research. When women are able to show objective information during a salary negotiation, they will be more likely to get what they are asking for. Bring research that shows comparable salaries in your field.
Your negotiation style is essential to your success in securing the pay raise or promotion you want. When you are in a salary negotiation, you need all the leverage you can get. Don’t communicate in regards to salary negotiation via email or electronic communication. Your words may be used against you to result in lower pay.
Use ‘we’ when you make your pitch instead of ‘I’. Remember that assertive women are seen as aggressive and bossy. Using the word ‘we’ help you seem less “intimidating”.
Using your bargaining chips
When it comes to salary negotiation for women, of course, you want as much leverage as you can. But you must be extremely cautious with any aggressive approach to your negotiations. Bringing an outside offer to the bargaining take can severely backfire because your company can view it as a threat.
If you do choose to use this type of bargaining method, don’t bluff. The worst thing that could happen is you pretend you have this offer from another company willing to pay you what you think you’re worth. If your bluff is called, you’re definitely not getting the desired pay or promotion you were looking for.
Even with your objective information you bring to your negotiation meeting, be careful in how you present it.
Practice. Practice. Practice.
It may seem silly to think about at first, but you should role-play with someone else. It takes some time to develop great negotiation skills, so it is important to practice; especially if you have never negotiated your salary or benefits before. Practice allows you to refine your argument and make mistakes before it counts.
More than a Paycheck
Don’t forget that salary is not the only thing you can negotiate! Many women (and men) forget that there are so many different benefits you can haggle for. Millennials should especially negotiate benefits because many businesses will not be willing to pay you what you should make. Here is a shortlist of benefits and perks you should also consider in your negotiations:
- Time off: vacation days, sick days, leave;
- Workplace environment: work from home, visit the company branch;
- Education/Professional development: tuition reimbursement, conference/workshop opportunities, training;
- Expense accounts: industry travel, industry networking, commuter benefits;
- Other perks: title adjustments, company share/stock options;
When it comes to promotion and salary negotiation for women, there are some major changes that need to be made industry-wide. While we wait for the gender wage gap to shrink, share this post with your network of women so they can get the pay they deserve too!