Get the Salary You Deserve: Tips for Women and Salary Negotiations

salary negotiationBy Frances Chaves

Women have a harder time negotiating salary than men, according to recent research. If you fail to negotiate a fair salary when you are hired, it is much harder to get parity later on. According to one estimate, failing to negotiate at work costs women more than half a million dollars in earnings over the course of their careers. Here are some suggestions for negotiating up front from a position of strength and securing the compensation you deserve.

There is parity between men and women in other negotiations, but not when it comes to negotiating salary. In one study, women negotiating for themselves asked for, on average, $7,000 less than their male counterparts. However, when they negotiated on behalf of a friend, they asked for just as much as the men. The conclusion: Women need to think of the others who depend on their salaries during their negotiations.

Women are between a rock and a hard place when it comes to salary negotiation. When men negotiate for themselves, they are liked and respected. However, when women negotiate for themselves, both men and women want to work with them less often.

If you are too polite — which is common for women — you can be perceived as not tough enough or ready to settle for less. Too tough and you are seen as pushy. Therefore, it is important to think of salary negotiation as problem solving, not adversarial confrontation. Be firm but not antagonistic. Ask for what you deserve. Remember, it is about business; it is not personal. For more suggestions, check out Women for Hire.

Other issues hampering women during salary negotiation include:

• Women tend to go into negotiations without researching their value. Knowledge is power, especially during salary negotiations. The US Department of Labor provides the most accurate salary information at Job Search Intelligence.

• Women are more likely to accept the first offer even though most employers expect candidates to counteroffer. Before entering a salary negotiation, draft your ideal compensation package. Include salary and items that are important to you such as benefits, bonuses, stock options, vacation time or flexible schedules.

The best way to ensure success during salary negotiation is to practice ahead of time. Ask fellow PSGCNJ members to stage a mock salary negotiation. Role playing can help you prepare reactions to different types of salary negotiations and make sure that you have the knowledge you need to best represent yourself.

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