The pay gap between men and woman is still very real, partly because companies don´t pay women more, but women also negotiate less (or different) than men. How to negotiate a good salary? Well, I am glad you asked, with some first-hand experience and experience in the recruitment industry I have some tricks up my sleeve that I’d like to share with you.
How I negotiated a men’s salary for my corporate copywriting job
Before I started my business, I worked as a copywriter for a corporate company. During the interview, they asked what I was looking for in terms of financial compensation. I obviously did my homework and told them the beautiful average salary for men in the industry.
When they invited me for the second interview the recruiter told me that the salary I asked was 300 euros higher than average for the industry. “Did you look at women in the industry or men?” I asked. He laughed a bit and said he looked at the average salaries for women. I replied, “Well, I do my work just as good as any male candidate so I’d like you to reconsider the salary I asked as it is pretty average for men in the industry”.
And that was that. I got the job and the salary I wanted just because I asked!
Tips on how to negotiate a good salary
Obviously, life doesn’t always work that way and it is also not everyone’s style to just demand to be paid equally. I think you should and it should be culturally accepted. But I am also aware that I am Dutch and that we are a bit more direct in the way we communicate.
Whatever your style is though you must negotiate! Studies show that only 7% of the women negotiate when they receive a salary offer. (FYI 57% of the men negotiate their salary!)
Ask if there is room for negotiation
You don’t have to start with “I want more money” right away. That is not everyone’s style and it doesn’t go over well with some hiring managers. But there is no harm in asking politely. Go for something along the lines of “I would love to fill this position, but is there any leeway in the compensation package?”. This doesn’t burn all the bridges immediately but shows that you would like to negotiate.
Some jobs have a fixed salary, nothing you can do about that. But the minute you feel that there is room, you should take it!
Know what you are worth
Before you go to an interview you should do your research. Not only on the company, but also on what other professionals in similar positions earn! This gives you a benchmark and will give you confidence in your negotiations. When you know you aren’t asking for something crazy, it is easier to stay firm (but polite of course) on the matter!
Uncertainty in what you are worth is something that hiring managers and recruiters can smell a mile away. So KNOW what you are worth and believe that you are indeed worth it!
Present the whole package and be prepared to pitch
When you come with a counter offer you usually will have to pitch. And just telling them that everyone else is making that much money is probably not going to cut it. Highlight what unique qualities you bring combined with the data you’ve acquired through your research in a short pitch.
Don’t be afraid to walk away
If you don’t like the salary you can just choose not to take the job. I can’t tell you if you should walk away from a dream job but most jobs do come around more than once and it can be worth it to tell someone that you are not interested in this job with this compensation package. Politely decline and tell them that you are not able to accept the job because due to the level of the salary. Sometimes employers need this type of powerplay to come back with a better offer, but sometimes it also just means that you are not taking the job.
Be ready to commit to that consequence if you choose this route. Keep in mind that the salary you start with is a baseline for every promotion and raise in the future, so if you are really unhappy now… chances are that this isn’t going to improve over time!