How Can We Earn More in 2018?
You’ve got to negotiate to accumulate
Research shows that women shy away from negotiating salary increases, and the reason is often that they fear risking their reputation. Sadly, this fear isn’t total unfounded, because according to the book Women Don’t Ask by Linda Babcock, male bosses do indeed penalize female workers for being demanding or “difficult”.
1. Why should we negotiate?
It’s simple. You deserve to have your worth recognised. It’s not emotional, it’s just a fact. You don’t want to start a new job feeling undervalued. You don’t want to set that example to the next generation of young women, either. And most of all, you don’t want to lose out compared to others who are willing to put their worth on the table.
2. The mistakes we can avoid:
Don’t talk too much. It’s so hard to do when you’re nervous in an interview, but state what you want, then shut up and wait for the other person to come back. If you fill that awkward space with self-deprecating fillers like “of course I totally understand if you can’t”, you’re making it too easy for them to say no.
Be prepared. Negotiating a salary is often as simple as presenting comparable salaries of other people doing the same job in your city. So do a little research and lay it on the table. Neutrally. This isn’t war, remember, just a sharing of data. Headhunters are a great source of information fyi.
Don’t make it all about you. If you focus on the value you are offering to add to their business, your employer will be thinking about their bottom line, rather than doing you a favour, and be more likely to agree to your request.
3. Stay true to yourself.
There’s no need to wear two pairs of shoulder pads and act like a caricature of an alpha female. You don’t need to be anything other than who you really are. The whole painful interaction with your boss is going to be a lot more weird and stressy if you’re play-acting a part. Just be your strong, open, true self. You know the one: that self which values your skills and knows what great things you will bring to this company.
4. Find your supporters.
While we are not always comfortable negotiating for ourselves - because we are worried that asking for a higher salary would end up in a socially difficult situation - a study by the American Psychological Association (via Harvard Business Review) shows that we love it when women negotiate assertively for others.
It’s worth noting that this is especially true for women - and men don’t show these differences in behaviour.
So go find your advocates!
4. Practice our top tips:
Get relaxed about money-talk. It’s such a taboo subject, but practice talking to friends, family and co-workers about money, and the vocabulary will trip off your tongue more easily. Share figures about mortgage rates or just the dinner bill. These aren’t dirty words, you know!
Remember, negotiation doesn’t have to be about cash. It could be about flexible working hours, shares, holidays or the perks that go with a new job. These things can be worth more to you than hard cash (remember Tony’s advice from last week about what makes you feel wealthy?).
If you get shot down, don’t give up. Even if the absolute worst happens, and your tough negotiation stance costs you a job offer, don’t let that turn you into a scared little mouse when you go up for the next one. This is not a dangerous game that could injure you – it’s just you stating your worth in the business world. No more, no less.