Currently, women are earning an average of $11,000 less than their male counterparts – with the gender wage gap only increasing as we age. If we want to eliminate that gap, then negotiation will be imperative. However, studies have found that while 50 percent of men are more likely to negotiate their salaries, only 1 in 8 women do the same. Perhaps their apprehension derives from a lack of confidence or a lack of know how. Here are some tips that may help women be more successful negotiators.
• Have a clear idea of your goals and what you want to see accomplished through the discussion. Know who you’re negotiating with and know what they want.
• Research statistics that will help your case, such as how much your industry typically pays for a similar role.
• Build your confidence by practicing. Start small, try negotiating for a better price at a garage sale.
• View the situation from the other’s perspective. Negotiate using their needs and state how they stand to benefit by proposing a win-win proposition.
• Reach out to a mentor if you have one. They will be great source for advice as they would have likely experienced a similar situation in their own careers.
• Use language that firmly gets your point across, such as “this will be one of the few times that you and I are at the opposite ends of the table.” Don’t be tempted to fill the periods of silence during a negotiation.
• If you need to calm down, ask the other person to clarify what they’re saying to give you some time to pull yourself together.
While the gap between men's and women's earnings has been steadily narrowing in the last decade, full wage equality has yet to be achieved. It’s time for us to take some control over our financial future. With more understanding and self-awareness, we can work to close the gender wage gap.
Shelley Ford is a Financial Advisor with the Pelican Bay Group at Morgan Stanley in Denver. She can be reached at 303-572-4839 or Shelley.Ford@morganstanley.com.