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Let's stop pretending that being good at money means you need to be good at math. Instead, let's listen to our body and our mind.
Work is many things. It’s a job, it’s a place for you to express your talents, it’s a second home, and it’s a social environment. One of the best parts of work is that for a lot of us, we will get paid to do what we love. However, for many, the pay doesn’t always reflect the amount of work or time that you put in.
In a millennial money survey, one statistic in particular made me immediately upset. In fact, you probably felt the same. Otherwise you wouldn’t have clicked to come here yourself. The statistic was this:
Men are 14 times more likely to negotiate their salary than women.
But why? Research found one reason women were less likely to negotiate was due to their desire to be perceived as nice and less demanding. Research also found that women were less likely to negotiate with male evaluators due to nervousness.
Well, guess what? We’re done being nice and nervous.
Personally, I’m on my third salaried position. For my first job, not unlike a lot of people, I was thrilled to be making any money at all. So, when my then-boss offered me $42,000 for a management position I figured that was perfect. “You mean, I don’t have to get by on my minimum wage salary?” I thought to myself. Meanwhile, after tax and paying my bills, I had about the same leftover as I did while working in a clothing store. In fact, I definitely made more as a server.
In my second job, I decided I wasn’t going to accept lower than my last position, so I proclaimed that my salary range was $45,000 to $50,000 in the interview process. When the call came in that I was the chosen candidate and my then-boss offered me $48,000 I didn’t even blink. “That’s well beyond what I made before!” I thought to myself. I never thought I would be offered higher than $45,000, so, I accepted without negotiation.
After working there for 3 years and receiving one small raise without asking, I had taken on a lot more responsibility. Therefore, I knew it was time to ask for a raise on my own. It went okay. But, I didn’t receive the raise. So, I started exploring other options.
In my third job, I gave another range and increased my salary to the ideal number, no negotiation needed. However, one area that I did want to negotiate for was vacation days. In my previous job I had 15 vacation days and 12 personal days. Which I now realize made me very lucky. So, when I was told I would only receive 10 vacation days, I negotiated. Although they didn’t increase the days, they did implement a policy allowing an increase after one year of service just one month after I started. Negotiating is important because it helps advance everyone in the organization. But most importantly, because it gives you the opportunity to explain your value and prove that value. But at the end of the day, negotiating isn’t easy.
In a poll to my Instagram followers, over 60% of my female followers had never negotiated their salary, citing reasons such as a lack of confidence, a manager who was a bully, not aware they could, not wanting to look greedy, not wanting to lose the opportunity.
Feeling ungracious and rude is actually very common for women who are attempting to negotiate for a higher salary. I chatted with Tori Dunlap from Her First 100k to get her advice on the best way to approach this conversation if these fears fall under what may be holding you back from negotiating.
You never want to assume that when you go in to negotiate your salary that it is going to go the exact way you envisioned in your mind. Because, well, you know what they say about assumptions.
However, not knowing what to expect can leave your confidence a little bit lower than it will need to be. Here are some real life tactics from women that are just like you who have attempted negotiating for an increase in pay.
The best way to build confidence when going into any negotiation is to know your worth—like really, deeply, in your bones know it. When you do, it’s much easier to make the ask for what you know you deserve! To get to that point, start by researching the market rates for similar jobs, ask people in your network for their input on the salary they think would be a fit for your experience and for the level of responsibility, and then get all the pep talks you can before you head into the room to ask.
Take stock of your own accomplishments and whether they line up with your ask. If you can confidently say they do, that’s a really strong foundation for any negotiation.
I once left $3000 extra dollars on the table because I didn’t know there was a range in place for my position, or that I could ask for more money than was being offered to me. It still annoys me to this day that I could have made more money if I’d just known to ask.
Be prepared to hear ‘no’. If you work in a union or salary schedule environment (like me), you have no negotiating power, your salary is what it is. But, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t prep yourself and be ready to ask for more if it’s an option.
Sometimes a raise just isn’t an option. No matter how incredible an employee you are, if your company is struggling then it’s not the right time to ask for a salary increase.
That doesn’t mean you’re completely out of luck. If you know a monetary raise isn’t in the budget this year but you still deserve to be rewarded, then consider asking for a different perk. Maybe an extra few days of vacation, or Friday afternoons off in the summer, or the ability to work from home once a week. Options like that can still benefit your lifestyle without necessarily increasing your income. There may also be room to improve other work benefits. Raises may specifically be off the table but how about an increase to an RRSP matching program or extended health benefits? Such factors may be considered different line items on the corporate budget and have more room for negotiation.
Being aware of the bigger picture in your company and a willingness to work within that will make you look like a more loyal employee and that in itself is worth rewarding!
At the end of the day, you shouldn’t feel defeated if you attempt to negotiate for higher pay and don’t get the ask. The bottom line is that you have taken one step in the right direction and can make the best decision for your career knowing your value and knowing that you’ve tried.
The key takeaways and things to remember when it comes to salary negotiations are to remind them of your value, research the current market rates in your industry, and be collaborative in finding a number that makes everyone happy. You deserve to earn as much as your male counterparts and shouldn’t be undervalued because you weren’t as comfortable having that tough conversation. Getting comfortable in the uncomfortable situations is step one to earning more income in your professional careers.
What have your experiences with salary negotiations been like? Let me know in the comments!
Oh no, you missed the live webinar! But, good news: Mixed Up Money is pleased to share a free resource for anyone planning for a future child or family.
Mixed Up Money is pleased to share a free resource for anyone looking to cut back on non-essential spending. My most-requested product is these monthly calendars to share on your Instagram story, use as a phone background, or print off to track your spending habits.
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