By: Rebekah Kane
I encourage all women to always advocate for themselves, especially when dealing with salary issues. Please do not ever discount your experience and who you are, by not taking the risk to ask for and to negotiate compensation for your own worth and value. With a strong sense of self, and knowingness that your time, skills, education and experience are valued, you can diplomatically assert yourself with this touchy subject.
Money can be such a sensitive topic in our culture. In fact, my guess is that you rarely bring up the conversation of salaries even with your closest friends. Our salaries and our finances are very personal topics for most of us.
Salary negotiation, both when accepting a job offer and asking for a salary raise once in a position, are often quite scary and sensitive topics to entertain, and all the more so for many women. We may be easily influenced by how those in management might perceive us if we ask, and what if the answer is “no?!” However, it is so important to advocate for ourselves by standing firm in who we are, and valuing ourselves. There is absolutely nothing wrong with women asking for what they want and deserve in the workplace – or in any situation for that matter.
Salary negotiation (when receiving a job offer):
You have already been offered the position, so firstly congrats! Take the time to put together your proposal, and ask for the opportunity to meet in person to have a discussion about salary negotiation. Offers and salary negotiation are now conversations that do take place via email, however, if you can have this conversation in person all the better. Practice this conversation with a trusted friend. Build confidence in asking for what you feel you are worth. Remember, that you do not have to arrive at a final decision in that moment of discussion. It is acceptable to think over the response you receive for a day and get back to the employer with your answer after careful consideration. Let yourself go to the worst case scenario in your mind, which is most likely that they are not willing to budge. However, you have been offered a job that you may choose to accept…you have a choice. Be prepared for a “no” to negotiate your salary offer, and know what your bottom line is. Are you willing to walk away?
Assess your leverage. Know your skills and experience and compare this to the job description. Do you exceed the job description requirements? Is the employer getting more than what they asked for? Are they getting more value with your skills and experience?
When you negotiate salary, when first taking a job, you are setting the bar for yourself and for future incremental pay raises. If you settle for less, you may feel that you are taking an opportunity that is not meeting your financial needs which can hang over you and negatively impact your feelings about your job, company and supervisor
It never hurts to ask! Truly it doesn’t. You will never know unless you ask. If an employer is neither willing nor able to adjust salary then it may be possible to negotiate other benefits such as vacation time, flex time, benefits, and hours per week.
Employers often expect you to discuss salary and negotiate salary when accepting a job offer, which means that each employer also may start with a lower salary initially with the assumption that the jobseeker may ask for a bit more.
Asking for a raise in your current job/position:
Each employer is unique in their performance evaluation process. Yet, this is often the most appropriate time to be prepared to ask for a raise. Often the employee review process involves a cost of living raise, which can range from 2%-6% annually. Yet, if you have evidence that you have been in a position for a good length of time and have significant accomplishments, perhaps gaining more responsibility, then it might also be an opportunity for a more substantial salary raise. There are so many variables for employers to consider when deciding on salary raises. Yet, if we do not ask, we often do not get what we want. So, rather than wait for the opportunity at a review, consider approaching your manager only after you have prepared a case to present to her/him. This proposal could include examples of success in your job, examples of when you went above and beyond your position’s scope, particular projects you have excelled in, and any additional education, courses, certificates or skills you have recently gained.
Develop a positive relationship with your supervisor/manager. The stronger this relationship is, the more your manager will “go to bat for you” when perhaps trying to approve salary raises from higher-ups in the organization.
Be conscious of timing. Being sensitive to current financial challenges within the organization allows you to proceed carefully and recognize that this may not be the time to ask for and expect a raise, yet expressing your needs and concerns to a manager is still valid.
You never know unless you ask. Ask for what you deserve, want and need.
Rebekah Kane, Founder of Tell a New Story Coaching, coaches and empowers people through job, career and life transitions with less stress, more balance, ease and joy. www.tellanewstorycoaching.com