You are doing salary negotiation wrong

I say this to you with love. I say this to you with over 15 years of both working for employers and with women on how to Ask For More. And you know what that has shown me? You absolutely deserve more. So much more. And that is what I want for you — so here are the top 8 things you need to know about salary negotiation.

  1. You are underpaid. If you are a woman you are on average paid 15% less that your male collegaues. I am going to stop right there and let that sink in. So when you are negotiating your next move. Your STARTING POINT should be 15% higher — for the same role. More if you are applying up.
  2. The first thing out of your mouth when you get on the phone is to ask them the salary range. If a recruiter calls you — say that you just want to make sure we are not wasting time. They will fumble. It will be slightly awkward for you both. Then they will tell you. This will start you higher than you had thought to start. Why? Because you are underpaid.
  3. If you need to provide a salary range before that call make it obnoxiously big and also see point one. So if your brain says ok I really want to get 60K for this role. Then say 55–85K. See what I did there. I made what you really want at the bottom of that range. Why? So you can negotiate silly 🙂
  4. So you are gunning for an increase during your yearly review. You have made a powerpoint. You have looked up ranges on glassdoor. Awesome. Throw them away. Stop trying to prove yourself. You already have. We already know who you are at work and we are prepared with what we are bringing to the table. We don’t care about glassdoor. Truly. Your boss will come to you with a number. (say 2.3%) and you will counter. I was hoping for closer to 7% 🙂
  5. STOP TALKING. Yes you heard me right. STOP TALKING. Stop saying this — “I feel that I have made a valuable contribution blah blah blah” Say I am looking at the 6% range or whatever number. Why? Because then you scare us. You make people think that you have done your homework and that you know something we don’t. THAT YOU ARE SMARTER THAN US. Men do it all the time. Time for you to do it to.

6. Want to make a whole lot more money? Play the over under game with your work colleauges. No one (at this point) feels confident asking a coworker how much they make but you can feel comfortable saying THIS to 3 coworkers…. “Do you make more than (insert 20K more than you make)?” So if you ask a coworker if they make 80K and you make 60K then you now have some hard data. Data that would make you feel pretty damn confident going to HR and saying — “Are we able to discuss why I am paid almost 30% lower than my colleagues.” (WARNING — this works. And it works well — but if your company is not willing to do anything about it — it will be the nail in the work coffin so practice steps above for negotiating at a new job)

7. Other things you can negotiate? Ask to start benefits immediately — we give that without blinking. Ask for personal days as opposed to vacation days — we have our hands tied with vacation days but easier to add personal days. If they can’t give you either — ask for more money.

8. If you are giving up a full time job for a one year contract — bloody protect yourself. You can have notice written put into your contract. You can ask to remove the probationary period and I will say it again — you can ask to add more notice into your contract.

Did you learn something new here? Awesome send this to a friend. Then they can send it to a friend and what we have here is corporate’s worst nightmare. A whole flock of people who know what they are doing, what they are worth and not playing the game like they are supposed to.

And guess what — I want you to make more money. Like lots of it. You are underpaid. Let’s fix that.

Learn more about Moms at Work's salary negotiation offerings here.

Allison Venditti is a Career Coach, HR Expert and pay transparency and equity advocate. She is the founder of Canada’s largest and most awesome community of working mothers.

Oh and when she is recruiting — she always lists the salary range because that is what progressive, equitable leaders do. Follow me @thisismomsatwork on instagram for more obvious hiring advice and fun gifs 🙂

Allison Venditti

Career Coach, HR Expert, salary negotiation whisperer, pay transparency and equity advocate. Founder of Moms at Work, Canada's largest organization committed to helping women earn more money, land better jobs and build community. Allison was named The Globe and Mail Report on Business Top 50 Changemakers 2022, is a regular speaker and media expert with over 100 interviews in 2021.


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