Negotiate Your Job Offer To Shrink The Gender Wage Gap

business people talk - body languageWe already know there is a gender wage gap in this country. There’s even one at the White House. Their own report uncovered the statistics that on average men are paid $10,000 more than the women. One reason for this disparity, the White House notes, is that there are more men in higher paying positions. If you look at a man and a woman in the same position they are earning the same pay. This begs a whole other question, why aren’t there as many women in higher paying jobs.

This battle is being fought on two fronts – wage and opportunity. President Obama is moving his wage equality agenda forward while Sheryl Sandberg is moving the opportunity aspect forward. One thing women need to do is negotiate their packages. Research suggests that the wage gap may be partially attributed to women not negotiating their salary and benefits packages. Women are less likely to negotiate their salaries either out of lack of experience or fear of losing the offer. The Harvard Business Review noted that the “social cost” for women negotiating their salary is higher than that for men. Meaning, it’s viewed more negatively.

What can women do to ensure they are paid their professional worth without coming across negatively? This is a very delicate balance by the way. Even once women have the job their male counterparts are more likely to be given opportunities to advance and it doesn’t matter if the woman has children or not. The recent report from the White House shows that even among their ranks men hold more of the higher paying positions but the women are catching up since half of department heads are women.

The first thing a woman can do is to negotiate at all. Recruiters are prepared to negotiate but they are more amenable to males according to the research. Here are some tips to negotiating:

  • Know your worth – take into account the job requirements, your skill set, geography and research comparable positions and lead with the research first….”My research shows this position in this part of the country for this size company on average makes $X”.
  • Be confident but not arrogant – recite your experiences and results. People pay for results not skill sets. They focus on skills because there is an implied connection between skill and success, however from the very first interview you should be highlighting your results and so should your resume.
  • Toot your own horn and that of the team – it’s true recruiters want to know about you but it’s more important that they know you can work in a team as well and that you are a team player, especially for the women. By the way, being a team player means different things to men and women. Being a team player for men means following the hierarchy while for women it means working together.
  • Express why you’re negotiating – it’s a team effort, they recognize your worth and skill otherwise they wouldn’t have given you the offer. Don’t negotiate just for the sake of negotiation. If you have a job that requires negotiation it would demonstrate your skill. What do you bring to the company beyond the skill set they require? Point out they wanted A, B, C skills and you also bring X, Y, Z skills to the table for mutual benefit. You have the success of the company at heart but you always want to be paid fairly.

It’s not a bad thing to negotiate your package. Look at all variables and not just salary. Are you willing to trade off time in the office for lower pay? Maybe you want to work from home two days a week. It’s still the same set of responsibilities and results but it provides a better balance for you. Perhaps more paid vacation time is what you want. You can also try for what if scenarios. If you hit all of your targets including stretch goals¬†talk bonus dollars. Don’t be so focused on the salary that you miss other opportunities to negotiate that provide you with other benefits.

If you have any negotiating tips please let us know. We want to hear from you. Share this post within your community and spread the word.



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