Written By: Alison Doyle
The Balance Careers
If discussing what you have earned—and what you expect to earn—makes you uncomfortable, you're not alone. A survey from Glassdoor reports that 60% of women and 48% of men believe salary history questions should not be asked. Women are also less likely to negotiate compensation, and two out of three women (68%) do not negotiate pay compared to only about 52% of men.
In many instances, women are more likely to be paid at the lower end of the scale because they start at a lower price point. Because you are currently earning less, you may be offered less. This can add up to a significant amount of lost compensation during your working career.
Remember, whether you are considering a new job offer or just received notice of a potential merit increase or raise, you don’t have to say yes right away. Consider the tips below as you prepare for your next salary negotiation.
Know how much you want to earn.
Before you even think about negotiating salary, it’s important to know how much you expect to earn in your next job. If the offer isn’t close, you don’t need to take it. If you were expecting $60,000, for example, and the offer is for $40,000, it is probably too much of a reach. Rethink your expectations and realize this probably isn’t the job for you.
Know that it’s acceptable to ask.
You may not feel comfortable asking for more money, but that doesn’t mean it’s not okay to ask. It’s better to ask the question than wonder if you could have negotiated a better offer. For example, a candidate was offered a terrific compensation package by her dream employer. Even though she would have taken the first offer, she inquired as to whether there was any salary flexibility. The company offered her more base pay and a bonus. If she hadn’t asked, she wouldn’t have known there was room to make a better deal.
Be aware of gender differences.
Taking the time to research salaries will help you learn if this is a role where women may traditionally be paid less. If it is, there may be a chance to get more. Be creative when countering; if the base salary isn’t negotiable, perhaps bonuses, benefits, or a commitment for a future raise may be.
Get the hiring manager on your side.
The hiring manager can be your advocate for a better offer. If he or she really wants to hire you, they can push for human resources or management to get you more. One way to approach it is to say something like, “I would be thrilled with the position, but is there any leeway in the compensation package?” That way you’re not directly asking for more, you’re simply inquiring.
Be informed and prepared to make a pitch.
When discussing a job offer with an employer, be ready to explain why you’re worth a higher salary. You can share the data you have collected, remind the hiring manager of your credentials, and reiterate your ability to help the organization succeed.
Be careful what you say. There are good ways—and not so good ways—to ask for more money. There are some things you should avoid saying when you're negotiating salary, because they won't help you make your case.
Keep it positive.
When the job offer is much lower than you anticipated, keep any negative thoughts you might have to yourself. Don’t demand more money. Even if your counter offer is accepted, it may cause hard feelings within the company. If the offer is so low that you know you won’t take it, it’s fine to mention that the offer wasn’t what you expected. Thank the employer for the offer and move on.
Know that you don’t have to take the job.
If there is no way that you and the organization can come to terms on a reasonable compensation package that is agreeable to both you and the company, and if a counter offer doesn’t help bridge the gap, you can politely decline the offer and continue your job search.
Even though negotiating salary isn’t easy, the better informed you are, the more you research, and the more data you collect, the better equipped you will be to successfully negotiate a job offer. If you are willing to ask, you may be able to get a higher salary.
Remember, if you can increase the salary for this job, you’ll also increase your future earnings potential.
Written By: Alison Doyle | The Balance Careers