Many women report fear as the main reason they don’t negotiate their salary and instead accept lower wages to perform the same work. So we’re providing some tips to help you overcome that fear and get paid your worth.
I was so naive when I entered the job market after college. For the first time since I started working at thirteen, I took my first non-paying job at an arts organization in Harlem. It was the first Black-owned and operated company I had ever worked for. It was also my worst job experience to date.
I did so many things wrong then–from working for free, to accepting a low salary, allowing myself to be bullied, and then sticking around a single day after being called worthless. The one thing I did right was leaving when salary negotiations didn’t go my way.
Women are less likely to negotiate their salaries and are getting paid 20 percent less to do the same jobs as their male counterparts. For Black women, that gap is larger at a 37 percent rate, according to The American Association of University Women. Last year, I successfully negotiated a $10K salary increase using these steps. Here’s how you too can get paid your worth:
Your skills and experience set you apart from the competition but in negotiating your pay you must know what those skills are worth. The best way to do that is researching what others in your position, industry, and location are getting paid at your experience level. In 2016, both LinkedIn and Glassdoor released salary evaluators that detail the salary you should expect for your position.
Build Your Case
If you’ve held your job for some time show them why you’ve earned a pay increase. Did you learn a new skill? Develop new systems? Resolve a costly issue they were having? Or increase their sales? These are ways you’ve contributed to making the company better.
This isn’t something you want to improvise. Develop a systematic plan outlining how and when you will pitch your request. During negotiations, women are typically less direct than men. So be clear in what you’re asking for. If this is for a new job be ready with a counter-offer. This is the best time for you to negotiate your salary and any accompanying benefits.
Phone a friend or previous employer who has been here before. They will be able to give you a different perspective or point out things you may not have considered in developing your plan. Discussing it with others may also calm any nervousness you may be experience.
Closed mouths don’t get fed on any boulevard! If you don’t ask for it, you won’t receive it. Your boss isn’t going to just give you more money than you’ve ask for. If you are qualified and they are interested in you, the worst that can happen is they say no. So, don’t be afraid to ask.
If your offer isn’t accepted ask your boss if they can counter it. Alternatively, you can counter your initial offer by withholding a small portion of the full salary for an agreed upon period of 3-6 months. This gives you a chance to prove that you’re worth the higher salary rate and can do the work.
Cut Your Losses
Sometimes it isn’t going to work out. Don’t get mad–get your life! Refresh your resume and search for a job that’s willing to pay the right price for your skills. Change is scary but staying in a job that doesn’t value you could be worse.
Highlighting the journey of Black women as they create spaces and elevate Black culture.