Women’s Negotiation of Salaries

sharon-mccutcheon-552616-unsplashFailing to negotiate your salary can cost you between $1 million and $1.5 million over your earning lifetime according to a study done by Linda Babcock of Carnegie Mellon University.

It is a proven fact that women in this country are being hurt by salary disparities. Why do these happen and what can be done about it?

This happens for three reasons:
1. Women do not typically negotiate starting or career salaries.
2. Women are raised to be like-able and easy to get along with.
3. Women are not taught how to negotiate.

In my experience very few women are taught how to negotiate for starting salaries or increases in their present salaries. Men on the other hand are expected to ask for more money than is being offered in a hiring situation. Companies know this and will intentionally offer a reduced salary to a woman because they know that more than likely the woman being hired will just accept what she has been offered.

I have a friend who was told by the hiring manager that he knew she was worth more and the position pays more, but since she was a single parent and needed the job she should just accept the offer. She did (because she did need the job) and worked her way up to a higher
salary and then promptly left the company.

Christine Luken (www.ChristineLuken.com) discussed one of the reasons for salary disparity in her blog. Studies have been done on women and men getting hired into a new position. Men who negotiated for their salaries were look upon as being great negotiators, hard core business men, and knowing what they want. Women who do the same thing are looked at as not nice, hard to get along with, and trouble makers.

Women are trained from a very young age to be likable by everyone so you can make friends in your personal and business life. This notion has been continued by both men and women in the workforce. Being liked is equated with being successful. Women are taught not to ask for what they want as it is not very nice.

Negotiation is an art form and done well is positively received by both parties. I have taught many of the women in my college classrooms a very simple negotiation technique that works well. As an example, say you are offered a salary of $50,000 a year for the position for which you are being interviewed. Most salary offers are within 5% of the actual salary range for the position you are discussing. I asked the women in
my class to add 10% to their answer. In this example 10% of $50,000 is $5000. The woman being offered the $50,000 responds “I was thinking more like $55,000.” Now we have a bracket to work within, and the normal settlement for this is $52,500. I have been told by many women that they have had great success with this technique and they all told me that they can do the 10% of a salary figure in their head so it works.

Learn to negotiate and ask for what you want. People will still like you or not depending on the work you do.

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