Research shows that most of us would rather be paid less than have an uncomfortable conversation about a starting salary. Gulp. Isn’t it time we got over that fear and earned what we’re worth?
Picture this: You’ve just landed a new job and it’s a good one. You’re psyched to get going, to learn some new skills in an industry that excites you and meet some inspiring people, especially after two years spent working at home.
A shiny, bright email from your soon-to-be-boss arrives in your inbox. They want to confirm your start date, your superannuation details, and oh, just casually, here is the salary.
Gulp. It’s at least $10,000 less than you were hoping. So, what do you do? Do you take the email as their opening offer and negotiate? Or do you smile politely, write back with your bank account details, and just let it be?
Meggie Palmer is a former journalist and founder of an app called PepTalkHer. Palmer is in the business of getting the women who work with her a better financial deal at work.
“About half of the people that I speak to say that they would rather be paid less than have an uncomfortable conversation, because they’re so worried about what the ramifications will be,” Palmer says.
“We know that there is a penalty for women if we negotiate in the wrong way. So it’s really important that when we’re having these conversations, that we approach it strategically.”
Yes, asking for more money is daunting. Whether you’ve just landed a new role or even if you’re working at an organisation you’ve been a part of for years, negotiating on salary induces sweaty palms for even the most confident of people. Think about what you’re going to say in response and do so in advance — not in the room! In email, this job becomes easier. You have time to walk away and reflect before responding. In person that’s often not an option so preparation is essential.
“You can Google the salaries all you want,” says Palmer, who recommends doing your research. “You can look at all of the different websites and all that kind of stuff, but having the actual data from people who sit next to you, that is worth its weight in gold. That’s when you really start to understand what’s going on.” But even if you do find the confidence to ask for more money, are you going to get it?
One study by McKinsey, found that even when women ask for pay rises at the same rate as men, we’re more likely to be told no. That’s part of the reason, according to the United Nations, that it will take 250 years for the gender pay gap to close. And none of us have that kind of time.
Future Women members have reported a number of alarming examples of inequality. Julia discovered that in her contract role, she had replaced a man who had earned $15,000 a year more and had the word ‘senior’ in front of his title. Bree was asked whether the reason she was negotiating a salary increase was because she needed to pay for her wedding. And Kellie, received significant pushback from management when she tried to negotiate a pay rise. Something that never happened to the blokes at her office.
Are you mad yet? Us too. It’s time to start asking for more money, even if you’re not always successful. Palmer says that “while we’re waiting for society, and legislation and companies to catch up, it’s important that all of us understand the machinations of how negotiations can work against us, if we don’t play it correctly”.
Simply by asking, you make it easier for the next woman and the next woman. And we women can’t afford to wait 250 years to get our fair share.
Meggie Palmer and Madison Howarth will be speaking as part of Future Proof – a 12 part webinar series from Future Women designed to accelerate your career and build on your potential.
Find out more at futurewomen.com/future-proof/
This article was reproduced with permission from 9Honey. To read the original article, click here.