Salary negotiations are never easy, and they can get even more difficult for women! Women are less likely to ask for a salary raise as compared to men. Research suggests that 20% of women never negotiate at all. Women tend to underestimate their professional value and we have been raised in a society where we are taught to be less assertive, which is an essential quality for a successful negotiation. This makes negotiation more difficult, but not less important! To bring a change, we need to speak and demand what is rightfully ours, it’s not only important for advancement in career but also for personal growth.
Do your research
It’s always good to know your worth! Do in-depth research before putting your numbers on the table. Study the market and gather information about similar jobs roles and skill-sets to find what other people are getting paid in the same industry with similar experience level. Beware of the ‘gender gap’, market research will also help you learn whether women are traditionally paid less in the job role. Share your data with the employer to explain why you are worth a higher salary and remind them about your credentials and your ability to help the organization succeed. Being well-informed will not only help you in justifying your demand but will also leave a better impression on the organization.
Wait for the right time
During an interview, ALWAYS let the prospective employer make an offer first. It's wiser to wait for them to initiate the conversation and then you can follow it by stating your expected salary. It will certainly give you an edge and you can negotiate better after knowing what they have to offer you. Although some recruiters might ask your expectations beforehand, to which you can either offer a range instead of providing a single number or say you are open-minded and would like to know more about the job role before you make up your mind.
Pro-tip: Keep in mind that when you give a range the employer will mostly opt for the lower end of the stated range, so make sure your target figure is as close to the bottom number as possible.
Speak with HR
Once you receive an offer letter, it’s obvious that the company is keen to hire you. However, if the offer doesn’t match your expectation, politely ask HR if the matter can be looked into. It is important to know who you should approach for the negotiation. Negotiating with a prospective boss is VERY different from negotiating with an HR representative. Perhaps you can push HR to consider your demands but you would not want to annoy someone who may become your manager in future. Remember the hiring manager can be your advocate for a better offer. A simpler way to approach your HR is by saying something like, “I am thrilled with the position offered, but is there any flexibility in the compensation package?” This way you are not asking for anything up front but simply inquiring.
Do it before rather than regretting it later
Do you feel uncomfortable demanding more money, even when you know you deserve it? Well, you are not alone in this. Women are perceived to be more accommodating, but it is better to negotiate beforehand by asking for what you feel is due, rather than wondering later if you settled for less. Preparing a plan before the meeting will give you more confidence about the process. There is nothing wrong in asking for well-deserved pay, but do not restrict yourself to a fixed amount and be open-minded. Try to reach a common ground with some alternatives and accept the offer only if it's reasonable enough. If it doesn’t work out, you can always decline the offer politely.
Pro-Tip: If you are declining the offer, end it on a positive note by thanking the employer and saying, “I would love to hear from you if something better turns up in future.”
Avoid and Ignore Ultimatums of any kind
Nobody likes being bossed around and being told “do this or else….”, so it’s better to maintain your calm and avoid giving ultimatums. Similarly, if your counterpart is doing the same and you are at the receiving end of an ultimatum, simply move past it. You have to take into consideration that the employer might have some constraints too with the budget. If the employer tells you, “We can’t agree with these terms”, don’t dwell on it or make them repeat it. Propose another alternative and if they still don’t agree then humbly decline the offer.