Women and Salary Negotiation - Getting the Money You Deserve

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Even now, when women have made great strides to gain equality in the workplace, women are still earning, on average less money for the same job than their male counterparts. Even with government protections put in place to discourage gender based pay discrepancies, it is still happening. One of the reasons many experts suggest as to why women make less is that they are less experienced at negotiating a better salary.

When I think back, I can remember a time when I was offered a job that I really wanted. The human resources manager asked me about my previous salary and gave me an offer that was quite a bit more than I had been making previously. I was ecstatic and accepted it. I felt like I had just accomplished something huge. Not only did I get the job I wanted, but I got a sizable pay increase. I was through the roof.

My excitement and enthusiasm continued until I was talking with the other people who were hired at the same time as me, and my male co-worker told me what he was making. It seems that they offered him the same salary as me, but he asked for almost twice as much. According to him, they agreed without so much as batting an eye. Now, I am not a money motivated person; doing something that I love is more important that the salary, but once I found out that I could have earned more if I had negotiated made me feel like I had gotten a bad deal. No matter how hard I tried, I could never shake the idea that I had settled for less.

It seems that for many women, myself included, the idea of negotiating salary seems rude and overly aggressive. However, the truth is that negotiation isn't rude, and in fact, it is expected. Employers even seem to think less of employees who don't negotiate. Since, anyone hired to a position above entry level is expected to negotiate, employers rarely ever start off with their best offer. So, if you don't negotiate, odds are good that you will be getting paid much less than the employer was prepared to offer.

While this may seem like a small issue, accepting less pay can have a domino effect on the future of your career. For example, if you are being paid $7,000 less a year that what you could have gotten, when you ask for a raise, you wouldn't be getting a $7,000 raise. If you were to get a $500 raise, that doesn't even start to close the gap, because you could have been getting the same raise on top of the extra pay. What's more, most employers figure up raises on a percentage of your current salary, so even your raise is going to be lower than it would have been had you negotiated better.

When you take the next step in your career, be it a promotion within your company or a new position somewhere else, often your low salary will have a negative effect on your negotiating power. If you were offered a position somewhere else, they might think that offering you $10,000 more than what you are currently making is more than generous. But even then, you are only making $2,000 more than you could have when you started your previous job. So, you can see the far reaching consequences of not negotiating the best salary for yourself.

The only way to be sure that you are getting paid what you deserve is to do research on your industry and what the average pay is for your position. Once you have an idea of how much you are worth, you should consider reading a book on negotiation skills and practice with your friends and family. Get comfortable with it, and then you will be in a great position to negotiate the salary that you deserve.

Are you looking for a job in the Manhattan area? Be sure to visit ManhattanJobsite.com

By Melissa Kennedy- Melissa is a 9 year blog veteran and a freelance writer, along with helping others find the job of their dreams, she enjoys computer geekery, raising a teenager, supporting her local library, writing about herself in the third person and working on her next novel.

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  • Jacqueline K.
    Jacqueline K.

    Thanks for sharing this information. It is very useful.

  • Traven E.
    Traven E.

    Thank you for that resourceful information. I will be sure to use that knowledge when I am offered my next position.

  • Rita F.
    Rita F.

    In some areas there really is little negotiating unless your solid gold.Very few are considered golden

  • Amy H.
    Amy H.

    I know that women are sometimes better at the same job men can do . I work as a maintenance ENG2 and I make less than the men I work with

  • Nancy Anderson
    Nancy Anderson

    @Maria thanks for your comment. Wow this is a pretty old article but the basis of it is still true. You should know the salary range before accepting the interview - or even before applying for the position. Yes you can use sites like Glassdoor and salary.com to get a good idea on what the position will pay. It is just considered bad form to discuss salary while in the interview unless, of course, the interviewer brings it up.

  • Maria  F.
    Maria F.

    Nancy this is terrible advice "Don't Discuss Salary," the reason we don't know how much to ask for is the secrecy. It's not a secret, with websites like glassdoor.com. Anyone can report their salary. I never go to an interview without understanding the financial standing of a company. Starting negotiating range requires knowledge of salary for the industry, what the company is willing to pay not just, that women are making less money.

  • Nancy Anderson
    Nancy Anderson

    @Anne thanks for your comment. We would hope that employers would be fair across the board when it comes to salaries but we know that's not true. You should NEVER compare your salary with any of your coworkers; you should never know how much they are making nor should they know how much you are making. Salary is such a personal thing. Discussing salary can open pandora's box and you certainly don't want that. If you think that you are not receiving the salary you deserve, talk to your manager or to HR. But again - never discuss salary with your peers.

  • anne C.
    anne C.

    If I spent time to gains my degree as the next person,I should receiving the same salary and especially I have the experience.

  • sheikh k.
    sheikh k.

    I agree of the companies rule.

  • Michele T.
    Michele T.

    If salary was determined fairly based on experience, education, etc. there would not be a need for companies to push the salary confidentiality card.

  • myriam b.
    myriam b.

    I think it‘s fair. We women work as hard as men do. Maybe harder.

  • Nancy Anderson
    Nancy Anderson

    @Barbara so sorry to hear that. Have you discussed salary with your supervisor? Bear in mind that salary is one of those things that should never be discussed among employees. Salary is personal and is only between you and your supervisor - no one else. So it kind of begs the question how you know that your male counterpart has a higher salary than yours. Be careful how you proceed. Do NOT bring up this knowledge to your supervisor! Just ask for a sit down to discuss your performance and to request the possibility of a raise. Best of luck to you.

  • Barbara W.
    Barbara W.

    The job I have now my supervisor pay the male keyholder more than myself and I'll been there longer and have more exprience

  • Linda Johnson
    Linda Johnson

    not

  • Pamela P.
    Pamela P.

    Just read the comment from Rock Star Christy Pollard. Awesome attitude that represents many of us hardworking ladies! We must keep rockin by being better prepared.

  • Pamela P.
    Pamela P.

    This brings back memories. I have learned the hard way on salary negotiation. It is a must to be prepared for negotiation! Thank you for sharing your insight on the subject. I am looking now because I recently left a position strongly due to this issue. Paid way to little for a huge level of responsibility.

  • Christy Pollard
    Christy Pollard

    I know that I run circles around some guys I work with and my pay still is lower. I am here to find something better for me and my family. I am a rock star!!!

  • mary jones
    mary jones

    We do not get a chance to show what we know.as a chef

  • FRANCIS K.
    FRANCIS K.

    Even though I'm not a woman but I think women deserve to be treated fairly as far as Wages and Salaries are concerned.WOMEN ! you are too precious so please don't just give in easily. Do your optimum best to negotiate well so that you will not live to regret when you found out later.THANKS

  • Rita F.
    Rita F.

    There are many things that need to change. Asking how old a person is is prohibited by federal law, but happens daily even in interviews. Also, people asking if a person has children or are pregnant is against the law but happens in our area more that anyone would expect. The current salary should not be based upon past salaries, but consistently that happens. Needs change, skill levels increase and decrease, people take time to train and retrain. Being underpaid and under valued, is a demonstration of the disrespect in a corporation. I am amazed at how deeply ingrained some of these things go. Corporations, companies, and organizations who respect their employees demonstrate it in salary.

  • Darwin H.
    Darwin H.

    its a good thing

  • CHOONG LI
    CHOONG LI
    Fully agree. Its about time women are paid for what they are worth! Time and time again, women just sit passively and accept the consequences. We work hard and expect to be respected and treated for our worth! Stop humiliating ourselves and  treating yourselves worthily!
  • CHARNEL HILL
    CHARNEL HILL
    Very important to remember. Ladies, more people count on you, YOU, for what they need. Single parents especially.
  • Dellamar Moore
    Dellamar Moore
    the information you provided what's there a helpful to me I will be taking the tools that was given to me and apply it and the next job that I seek .thank you so much
  • MUITA NYAWIRA
    MUITA NYAWIRA
    great advice

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