“Based on a 2,000-person survey that found women are more apprehensive than men regarding negotiating and do it far less. 46% of men always negotiate salary following a job offer, compared to just 30% of women. And while 39% of men are apprehensive about negotiating, that number jumps to 55% for women.” – Linda Babcock, Salary.com
It’s also not just women, “60% of millennials don’t negotiate salary when receiving their first job offers. Many millennials started their careers during the Recession, when any job was better than none. Feeling grateful for the opportunity might lead them to feel uncomfortable trying to leverage for better compensation right out of the gate.” – Gina Belli, Payscale.com. The fact is the impact of not negotiating goes beyond your first job, “That starting salary impacts compensation rates for years to come. Lifetime earnings are determined in your 20s, since the bulk of earnings growth happens during your first 10 years of work. That’s why your initial salary might be the most important of your career.” – Kerru Renzulli, Time.com
Why Do Women Negotiate Less Than Men?
We may have the same qualifications and experience but we negotiate less often than men due to societal customs that state women should put others before themselves. Hence women are literally uncomfortable to ask for more and push their own agendas because they believe they will be received by society as aggressive, greedy, and nonconforming. If we all know both men and women are less likely to hire someone unlikable then naturally we will see the trend of women negotiating less often in order to remain in good light.
Why Are Millennials Less Likely to Negotiate?
I can personally speak to this. As a millennial myself, I was give the pleasure to go job hunting during one of the worst financial crises in recent history and it took me almost 9 months to land an offer. Once I got that offer the last thing that was on my mind was negotiation. Many of my colleagues and I were so grateful to get an offer of any kind that the last thing we wanted to do was ask for more and appear demanding, ungrateful, and/or entitled. Especially when so many of our friends were either laid off or job-hunting post-graduation for over a year.
Why MUST Women Always Negotiate?
Women must always negotiate because it is one of the biggest factors in the gender wage gap. In simpler terms, if all starting wages start at $10/hour and 60% of men negotiate a wage increase to $12 but only 20% of women negotiate the same increase then as a whole, men by default will always have a head start. It’s also imperative to always negotiate because future wages and bonuses are typically calculated as a percentage of your base salary. This has a bigger impact over the lifespan of a person’s career than most people realize. At the end of the day, we are responsible for our own destinies and in order to close the wage gap and change how society views women who dare ask for me is by simply asking for more. Do it.
What Can I Negotiate?
You can negotiate your salary, bonus, vacation days, signing bonus, stock options, i.e. any form of compensation, accommodations, or provisions.
When Should I Negotiate?
Delay, delay, delay. HR or the hiring manager may try to lock you into a salary or hourly rate prior to interviews so that they don’t waste their time. So if they quote a salary that is within your range then let them know you would like to proceed with the interview process and finalize salary during the latter stages. It’s all about leverage and there is no better leverage than landing the offer. Some recruiters will insist right off the bat that there will be no room for negotiation but don’t be discouraged, still go through the process, and make an attempt to negotiate and if they ultimately don’t budge then it is what it is. At that point you can decide to take it or leave it.
I repeat, not negotiating at all is no longer acceptable in 2016 and beyond!
How Should I Negotiate?
Research, research, research. Even after getting an offer letter, you must still be reasonable with your expectations and stay within industry standards. Below are some insider secrets and tips on salary negotiations:
Always research salary ranges for the position. Compare how your educational background and related job experience compares to what is listed in the desired skills section of the job description. You want to stay competitive and this will be necessary when putting together your supporting argument on why you deserve what you are proposing. Also – the industry matters. A Director role at a local non-profit organization is NOT making the same as a Director at of a multi-billion dollar hedge fund. Here are my favorite resources that I recommend utilizing when researching job salaries –
If the recruiter initiates the salary conversation, remember 9 out of 10 times they are low balling you $5K – $15K for junior roles and as much as $10K to $50K for senior roles. For example, if it’s an entry level gig you probably won’t have the leverage to negotiate $20 more an hour or $25K. Junior roles will have less room to negotiate in comparison to senior roles because senior roles usually require that the candidate has at least 10+ years experience, an advanced degree, certifications/accreditation, and/or a proven track record. Likewise, if you go first, they will assume you are padding on an extra $10K+ hence, whether you are junior or senior, the goal is to meet in the middle. In other words, if they go first, counter with at least an increase of $10K (after you do your research!) and if you go first (always make them go first FYI), start with a number at least $10K higher than your desired amount. Everyone wants the biggest bang for their buck.
Always be ready to justify and just like writing an essay, you will need supporting paragraphs. Showcase what you bring to the table and discuss related work history, internships, credentials, accreditation, degrees, classes, volunteer work, etc. There are lots of sites that provide great content on how to write the perfect counter offer letter. Remember, don’t just copy and paste, use the SAMPLE letters as a reference and then use your best judgment.
Be confident. They need you more than you need them.
Now Go Get ‘Em Tigresses!