Guest blogger Monster Career Expert, Vicki Salemi, explains how young women today can help ensure pay equality — by negotiating their salaries! Here are her tips for making sure you’re getting the pay you deserve.
Reflecting on Women’s Equality Day last month, there was no shortage of naysayers who believe the pay gap no longer exists. But here’s the deal: Women are no doubt getting shortchanged. In 2015, female full-time workers made just 79 cents for every dollar earned by men, according to the Institute for Women’s Policy Research. Of course it’s a complex matter, but from a personal empowerment perspective, there is something we can do about it: Negotiate.
With the first segment of Generation Z graduating from college this past summer, more and more young women are entering the workforce with the potential to help combat the gender gap. In fact, one of the top three must-haves for Gen Z is a competitive salary, according to a recent report from Monster. As this new generation enters the workforce and Millennials rise in the ranks, we need to focus on education in salary negotiation tactics. When I was a corporate recruiter, roughly less than 10% of young women actually negotiated their salaries – they often told me afterwards that they were just happy to have an offer. On the other hand, upwards of 85% of young men felt entitled to ask for more moolah.
That’s why young women need to feel that entitlement to a higher salary, and more importantly, ask for it. Don’t be shy; take it from someone who has extended and negotiated countless job offers – recruiters expect you to negotiate. There were very few times where I actually told a candidate, “No, we’re unable to give you more money.” Regardless of the outcome, you owe it to yourself and your future self to try! Here are several things to keep in mind:
Asking for more money is a no brainer – even when you receive an excellent offer. You know the drill. You land a job offer, and it’s not only fantastic, but the salary is exactly what you wanted! Let the celebrations begin – right? You accept the very moment the recruiter utters the words, “You’re hired.” Not so fast. You should always tell them that you need to think about it. Always hesitate, and always ask for more money. Even when it sounds like a great offer!
Don’t worry about the execution. As a former corporate recruiter, I’ve seen my fair share of negotiations. Sometimes candidates fumbled their words and didn’t quite know what to say or how to say it – the point is they did it anyway and usually got results regardless of their delivery. You should, too. Keep it simple: I’m honored by the offer, however, is there any more in the budget for a higher salary?
Don’t freak out: Stay focused. Working next to a guy in his cubicle, you can probably assume he’s earning more than you. What is up with that? And most importantly, it’s time for change! Remember: the lower you start on your next job, the lower your next raise will be – it’s all compounded based on that starting salary with your employer. Don’t shortchange yourselves, ladies! It can take you years to even catch up, especially if you stay with an employer too long (I’m a big advocate of job hopping!)
Do research. Put on your journalism hat and do some digging. Check out your job title and geographic region on Salary.com or Payscale.com as a starting point. Lean on your mentor and peers in the industry for hands-on knowledge. Say something like, “I’m excited about looking for a new job and don’t want to undervalue myself. Given my experience in the industry in this location, what salary range do you think I should ask for?”
Talk about money. Aside from salaries, go ahead and talk about the Benjamins on a regular basis. The more we build a conversation around money, the less taboo it will feel, and the more comfortable you’ll be entering salary negotiations.
Start negotiating other things. Try it on for size – it’s quite fun! The next time you’re in the deli, ask if they can throw in a free bag of chips because it’s a Friday. If your landlord tells you need to replace your windows at your cost, ask them for a 20% discount. the thing: You’ll never know if you don’t ask. Get accustomed to asking for more and enjoying the delicious feeling of receiving it.
Remember, it’s just a convo. Don’t make it bigger than it is – hiring managers expect you to negotiate! They’re more surprised when you don’t than when you do. And when I recruited, it always bothered me that so few women spoke up even when I gave them the opportunity to.
For example, I’d ask “Are you surrrrrre you don’t have any questions about the offer?” With no pause whatsoever they’d abruptly respond, “No, I’m all set. Thank you!”
You’re never all set – not until you at least aim for a higher salary. See what they say and allow for pauses and silence. And then don’t forget to ask for a sign-on bonus!