Navigating the working world as a woman can be a difficult prospect. Salary is a particularly thorny topic, as the wage gap between the pay for women and men continues to be a problem. Your careful negotiation tactics can help advance your career and decrease the pay gap. A strong negotiation is also an excellent way to start a new job, as it allows you to go into the position with the full respect of your superiors.
Don’t Lose to Yourself
The best negotiation tactic is extremely simple; silence. Women are socialized to abhor any social distress, but the reality is that a negotiation is a stressful conversation. Make your needs clear, and then simply wait. You needn’t qualify them with further conversation. You don’t have to explain yourself. If you’re asked specific questions, by all means, answer them, but don’t make the mistake of saying what you’d like to receive and then continue talking and whittling down your attributes or contributions to the team. Ask, and then wait to receive an answer.
Another thing you can do to make sure you don’t shoot yourself in the foot is make sure you are exceptionally prepared. Whether you’re asking for additional compensation in an existing position or negotiating for a new job, you should be able to answer every question and have an argument ready at the start of the process. Your argument should be, “Here’s how much I’d like, and here’s why I’m worth it.”
Remember, There Are Other Forms of Compensation
In some industries like education, academia or the non-profit sector, salaries are much less flexible than in the traditional business world. This doesn’t mean that you should ask for an amount that you’re comfortable with, but it does mean that you must also take other types of compensation into account. Vacation time, ability to work from home, mileage and benefits packages all have monetary value, and this value can differ from person to person.
If you have a young child at home, the ability to work from home one or two days a week may be worth more to you than an extra $5,000 a year. Excellent vacation leave is something to consider, as is a benefits package that includes affordable health insurance. Your employer’s contribution to your 401(k) or other retirement fund is monetary compensation and something that you should consider as well. Stock sharing or profit sharing are great options that employers can offer. All of these are great negotiation tools to keep in your arsenal.
Know When To Walk
The saying goes, you’re only as good as your other offers, so make sure that you know what you will and will not be fine with. No one wants to go into a new position feeling resentful right off the bat, and this doesn’t bode well for your performance in a new job. Make your calculations carefully and know what your bottom, bottom line is. If the employer isn’t willing to offer that final, lowest sum, then you already know the answer.