Angie Morgan is bringing a very serious topic to the forefront of American culture, pay equality for women. Morgan notes, “This isn’t a new topic – even the President has highlighted this issue. With more and more attention on the topic of wage equality, why is there such little progress? As women we need to fight for what we deserve, we work just as hard!” Morgan admits, “I’ve failed – in the past – to negotiate during salary discussions, but, has since recovered from my awkwardness around salary discussions – here are some of the tips I’ve used”.
Add 10% to every negotiation. Since I know that I have a history of undervaluing my contributions, I come prepared to negotiations – I’ve learned to ask for 10% more for my work. It’s my way of compensating for my weakness in negotiations and, in turn, ensuring that I don’t leave money on the table.
Over-prepare. I literally spend a tremendous amount of time doing my homework and research to ensure that when dollars get discussed, I’m ready.
Be prepared to walk away. This is a tough one for women – but you have to be prepared to say “no” if you don’t like the direction the discussion is going. Think about your BATNA – the best alternative to the negotiated agreement, which sometimes means don’t accept the offer. Sometimes your BATNA is more valuable than being undervalued and underpaid for your work.
Why is it that women falter here so many times?
Women don’t know their worth. Many women enter salary negotiations without understanding the value they bring to the organization. And if they do understand their value, it’s often understated and effectively, undervalued. This leads to a lack of preparation on their part during salary negotiations. Entry-level salaries determine future earnings – they are the reference point for pay increases with current employers and if a woman chooses to seek employment elsewhere, it’s the reference point they use for future salary discussions. If women leave money on the table during salary discussions, the long-term impact can be staggering.
Women don’t want to jeopardize relationships. Talking about money can be uncomfortable for some women. Asking for “more” can be an awkward dialogue. Many women feel that if they bring up the subject of pay, they might lose out on current and future opportunities … so they shy away from the discussion.
Some women are just happy to contribute. I have many friends whose husbands are the primary earners – they feel that anything they bring in is above and beyond what their family needs, so they don’t get aggressive when it comes to negotiations. They don’t consider how their decisions lead up to the greater problem: pay inequality for women.
As we continue to leave the home and become more dominate in the workforce, it is imperative to ourselves, and to the future generations of females, that we use the tips above. Research shows that if we don’t do our part to change this trend, women won’t reach pay parity until 2058! This is unacceptable. Let’s change the future….together!
Info graphic by Susan Rhodes
Images courtesy of Witthaya Phonsawat/freedigitalimages.net
Angie Morgan is a former Marine Corps captain and co-founder of Lead Star, a nationally-recognized leadership development consulting firm. Morgan is also the co-author of Leading from the Front: No-Excuse Leadership Tactics for Women (McGraw-Hill), which became a business bestseller.